Saturday, 1 July 2017

KUWAIT: Why Is Kuwait Not A Popular Tourism Destination?

What is missing for Kuwait to be a tourist destination?

Most Kuwaitis and expats take advantage of any leave granted to them, even if it is for two or three days, to travel abroad for a chance to enjoy the beautiful touristic atmosphere provided by other places such as Dubai, Oman, etc.

These nearby places are not cheap, yet desired by everyone, especially families. I don't blame them and I encourage them to go there even for a weekend.

For Kuwait, it's hard to be a tourist country in the absence of the right infrastructure unlike the UAE or Qatar.

Those countries took a decision in this matter years ago and supported the private sector to take a leading role, but Kuwait unfortunately lacks such support.

There are several obstacles that stand against the advancement of the tourism industry in Kuwait. Tourism does not occur by coincidence and is not linked to a desire of a few individuals, but is a collective effort.

Tourism today is an industry and a source of income, so the infrastructure of the state and its policies must be geared to this goal.

There's no law regulating the tourism sector in Kuwait and establishment of development projects, coupled with a lack of land for companies to set up tourism projects.

Every day I see more new empty hotels, and I wonder why they are building new hotels because this will not make the country a tourist spot in the absence of even a suitable international airport!

A local study confirmed that in the year 2014, Kuwaitis spent two billion dinars ($7 billion) on tourism abroad.

The average spending of a Kuwaiti per day is almost around $3,000 (KD 840), and according to the study, this is one of the highest global rates of spending!

Attracting tourists from outside Kuwait is not only difficult but impossible to achieve in the presence of many options available for tourists in nearly all countries in the region.

We are losing plenty of money, and focusing on the tourism industry would contribute to the revitalization of the national economy and create new jobs for young graduates, which will eliminate unemployment and provide a decent life for many citizens and expatriates, including businessmen and owners of shops and restaurants.

This should be associated with facilitating tourist visas. I understand security precautions, but this should not be a reason to shut down the country.

Another major obstacle is the absence of an independent government body for tourism for cooperating with specialized local and international media firms and channels.

I don't recall that I have witnessed a serious call by the National Assembly or the government for such a body. I don't mean nice media talk, but serious efforts with a substantial budget.

Tourism needs a political decision. It is an integral part of the national economy.

Tourism Observer
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