JEDDAH: The tourism unit of Bahrain's Ministry of Culture has launched its own call center in cooperation with Silah Gulf (Silah), a joint venture between the eGovernment Authority and UK-based Merchants.
The action is part of the ministry's efforts to provide better services and strengthen partnerships with the private sector, officials announced.
Eight well-trained Bahraini nationals will be available at the centre around the clock to offer a wide range of tourism information and services in both Arabic and English, according to a statement received here.
It said people calling the hotline on 800080001 can get information about tourist, cultural, and historical attractions as well as contact and general information on hotels, travel agencies, shopping and entertainment centers, and other facilities in the Kingdom.
To facilitate investments in the tourism sector and link investors to the concerned authorities, investors can also use the hotline to enquire about tourism investment procedures and relevant legislations.
The call center will also receive complaints and suggestions regarding tourism and relevant services, according to the statement.
Nada Ahmed Yaseen, assistant undersecretary for tourism, commented on the launch: "The call center is a quantum leap in the tourism services offered to citizens, residents, visitors, tourists, and investors alike where all information about the tourism sector can be found through an easy phone service. We are still working on enhancing this leading project further in phases, where it will include a toll-free number as well as an international number."
She added: "We hope that the call centre will help activate the tourism sector in the Kingdom as a key supporter of the national economy."
She said the Tourism Sector at the Ministry of Culture cooperated with Silah in this initiative as part of the Ministry's policy of partnering with the private sector to develop and invigorate the tourism sector through initiatives and activities using state-of-the-art technologies.
This is in addition to the tourism sector's development of its services through continuous communication with the private sector and the launch of a new bulk SMS text messaging service, according to the official.
Joe Tawfik, CEO, Silah, thanked the Cultural Minister and the assistant undersecretary for their confidence in Silah's ability to deliver on this crucial national project.
"We are delighted to partner with the Ministry of Culture to help provide a professional face to tourism in Bahrain. By being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and with a comprehensive knowledge base of information, the tourism hotline will be able to cater to visitors from all time zones," said the CEO.
Contact centers are fast becoming a key differentiating factor for companies and government services around the globe, and Bahrain cannot afford to be left behind in this trend, added Tawfik.
The call centre is one of the key projects that the tourism unit has been working on after Manama was selected as the capital of Arab culture 2012 and the capital of Arab tourism 2013.
The Ministry of Culture is preparing to launch more leading initiatives and projects in the near future to mark the two occasions, said the press release.
© Arab News 2012