www.bahraintribune.com The first-ever dedicated bank for the tourism sector called International Tourism Bank (ITB), with a paid-up capital of $1 billion and issued capital of $2 billion, will usher in a new era in the development of the tourism industry in the Middle East, chairman and the managing director of Bahrain-based Investors Bank, Sami Al Bader, said.
ITB, under formation, will be based in Bahrain and open its doors for business early next year.
Al Bader, who also chaired Investors Bank’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM), told Bahrain Tribune that the bank which had posted $60 million in net profit in the first 11 months of this year against just over $2 million in net profit last year, would be listed on the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE).
Founder shareholders of ITB are keen to list the new entity on the Bahrain Stock Exchange with the intention to cross-list at Kuwait and Dubai bourses. “We have conducted successful road shows across the world in an effort to introduce the unique project to the outside world as well as Middle Eastern countries.
“Investors Bank, Bahrain, a financial consultant to the new project, is working with the founding shareholders to finalise the size of shareholding for founding members and public shares.” ITB is a major step forward to consolidate the tourism and leisure industry of the Middle East region under one umbrella.
The idea had been endorsed by the chairman of the Arab Tourism Council, one of the major promoters of the ITB. Al Bader said: “In the Arab region we have billions of dollars in tourism projects in addition to billions of dollars spent every year by Arabs on tourism.
“The birth of ITB will give a new dimension to Arab tourism, either in projects or in the tourism industry itself.” Al Bader added: “We have some very liberal and pro-active regulatory authorities in the Arab world, and ITB would based in one of the best suitable countries. The new entity aimed to consolidate the tourism sector of the Arab region by providing investments, services and technical support to tourism companies.