SLICE FOR THE ARTS: Chance for diners to make a donation

DINERS will be offered the chance to make a BD1 ‘donation’ to the arts every time they eat out in Bahrain at many leading outlets, it has been revealed.

The payment pledge is set to be added to all hotel restaurants and café bills from next month and the initiative has led to a wave of anxiety from the tourism sector, according to MPs, who are calling for the move to be suspended.

Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) last night clarified that the BD1 donation would not be a compulsory payment and that all funds raised would be directed towards the National Council for Arts to support its activities and programmes.

An urgent request has been forwarded by Parliament’s financial and economic affairs committee to put the scheme on ice.

“We received numerous complaints from restaurants and cafes’ owners and management unhappy with the proposal,” said committee chairman Ahmed Al Salloom, who is a Bahrain Chamber board member.

“MPs have requested that the payment initiative be suspended.”

Initially, under announced terms and conditions, customers not willing to donate to the cause would have been asked to fill out a rejection form stating the reasons why they had refused to make a donation. That suggestion has been shelved following a remote meeting held between BTEA and several outlet owners and executives.

“The rejection form would have caused unnecessary inconvenience to customers visiting these outlets and we have been informed the system is set to change,” added Mr Al Salloom.

It is unclear what will come in its place.




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