12 March 2007
Neglected Internal Tourism – Al Areen an example
Green meadows, waterfalls, palm trees, flowers, a colourful collection of birds, oryx, ostriches, gazelles, giraffes, goats and many other creatures. No, it’s not a zoo. This is actually in Bahrain. It’s a beautiful wildlife park hidden behind kilometres of abandoned yellow sands. It’s been there for over 30 years, and it seems like many of us in Bahrain have forgotten about it.
The park was established in 1976, and opened to the public in 1986. Recent statistics state that it currently hosts around 400 animals, including 40 birds. A colourful number of trees and flowers also surround the place. The main three areas in the park are the walkway (equipped with picnic tables and close to birds and animals), the outer area (visited by bus) and the water park (contains a lake hosting a big variety of birds).
Now I have a simple and basic question; if the government can execute such an expanding and entertaining project, which is touristy, educating, green and financially accessible to most Bahraini families, why can’t we have more of them? And most importantly; why isn’t this project advertised for?
Nonstop bragging about the multi-million projects cover the dusty pages of our newspapers every day, leaving citizens below the poverty line drooling and heartaching. Would it hurt to actually remind people of what they already have available and accessible? Needless to mention, it can actually generate more visitors to the place, hence enhance profit and development.
Important to note as well is the current threat to Al Areen’s current status as a reserved area with an ecological network of species. It being so, means that the park’s land may not be used for any other purposes than its principal aim. The buffer area surrounding it should also be, environmentally speaking, protected.
In order to preserve the area the way it is, it ought to be protected from pollution and destruction. It seems that whoever chose the location of the Bahrain International Circuit decided to totally ignore that fact. Whilst building the BIC, many of the “preserved species” must have been physiologically and psychologically effected by construction material (dust, explosions, evaporated substances), most notably the birds (altered migration realm).
Al Areen is a beautiful place for a relaxing time away from our relatively-busy city life; remember that the next time you think this island is a boring one. Remember that the next time you want to plan a fun day out.