Visitor's Complete Guide to Bahrain was this company's first major independent publishing project.
A Type of Magic principal and creative director Archie D'Cruz was a senior journalist with the British-run Al Hilal Publishing Group in Bahrain at the time, and still in the early planning stages for a move to Canada. Al Hilal had been approached by Ali Mushaima, an enterprising businessman with a deep-seated love for travel, on the possibility of creating a visitor's guide to Bahrain. While Al Hilal declined, they suggested he approach Archie to take it on as an independent project.
Visitor's Complete Guide to Bahrain was, for the most part, a two-person collaboration between Ali and Archie, but the glossy, full-colour, 64-page book was a huge success. The entire print run was snapped up by bookstores, as well as hotels, resorts and airlines who bought them in bulk for the use of their guests. Major orders were also received from the country's tourism office and the business promotions board.
As many as 10 new editions were published over the years, each one featuring all new content, with articles and photographs from a growing team of writers and photographers from around the world. The book grew in size from 64 pages for the inaugural release to 224 pages for the final edition. In all, more than 150,000 copies of the Visitor's Complete Guide to Bahrain were sold, making the title a best-seller many times over.
"As the owner of a successful tours company in Bahrain, the one thing I found sorely lacking was a really good guide to the country—one that went beyond providing dry information, and featured interesting articles, great travel photography and high quality printing.
I decided I was willing to publish such a guide myself, and approached Clive Jacques, a close friend and general manager of the country's leading media firm, for advice on how to get such a book put together. Clive suggested I get in touch with Archie, who he said was a perfect fit as he had great writing, design and production skills.
After meeting Archie, we decided to take it on together as a special project, and it became a labour of love for both of us. Our goal was to make The Visitor's Complete Guide to Bahrain unique, visually appealing and interesting, not only for tourists but for new residents as well. It was demanding work, but well worth it in the end.
The >magazine sized guide was successful from the outset: Bahrain's tourism department and business promotions board both adopted it as their official book for marketing the country, and leading companies, airlines and hotels quickly came on board by advertising in future editions.
From 64 pages for that first edition in 1996, the guide grew to 224 pages in the last edition in 2008, before the book was transitioned into 101 Things to See & Do…, a new and ongoing travel guide series. Every edition featured all-new articles and pictures, with a growing team of contributors from around the world. Archie and his company A Type of Magic continue to play a key role in all our print and web publishing projects, and are a huge reason why our projects have enjoyed international success."
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