Bahrain will build five offshore cities, tourism projects and trade and transport infrastructure as part of a wider economic growth and fiscal balance plan.

The Gulf state will catalyse more than US$30 billion worth of investments to build cities off the coast at Fasht al-Jarm, Suhaila Island, Fasht al-Azem, Bahrain Bay and Hawar Islands, expanding its urbanised area by around 60 per cent, according to Zawya.

The announcement by Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and reported by state media, said planned infrastructure projects would also include a 109km Bahrain metro system, a 22.5km road and a long-awaited second causeway connection to Saudi Arabia.

In a bid to boost visitor numbers to the island state, the new projects also span tourist resorts and an exhibition city, intended to be the region’s largest, and located around the existing Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre in Manama.