Apparently, the Ministry wasn't satisfied with its previous order to ban entertainment in 1,2, and 3 star hotels, so it decided that all hotels in Bahrain must be bankrupt once and for all. It also ordered the shut down of bars and clubs in hotels that are in close proximity to residential areas, schools and mosques (not sure what defines "close" since everything in Bahrain is in close proximity). This way, there will only be a handful left (5 star hotels) for him to worry about -- although the 5 stars are basically owned by powerful people so there will need to be better ways to Talibanize Bahrain.
Now some argue that many of the "artists" that perform in small hotels are in fact prostitutes. OK. But I don't suppose that inspection and closing-down of only those who engage in prostitution is too much to ask for? Still, the Minister was not to be bothered with such details. Best of all, the tourism section issued a statement saying that those decisions come as a result of careful studying of the tourism situation in Bahrain [i.e. there is tourism and they must kill it] and is part of a comprehensive plan [i.e. no hotel entertainment shall exist].
Of course, since we lack any transparency of the decision making in Bahrain (TRA and the Central Bank issue consultation papers to stakeholders before passing laws but they're the only ones), many people are starting to speculate about this "plan" and where it's actually coming from. Some say it's a conspiracy by the 5-star powerful lobby to eliminate competition.. Other say it's actually the Ministry's close relations with the Menbar & Asalah Islamic lobby and the fear of Islamists in parliament. I'm not sure what to expect as the "next" phase of this plan.. but I know it will be bad!
And while we're at it, what happened to the plan of establishing a professional tourism authority in Bahrain? I hope I'm not the only one who remembers, but I thought the EDB was supposed to take over regulation of that sector, or so the newspapers said. Of course by the time the Ministry is done, we can no longer call it a tourism regulatory authority. I personally suggest calling it regulatory authority of the "late blessed soul of Bahraini tourism"