Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kuwait placed last in GCC tourism

“Kuwait is not as interested as other GCC states in the tourism sector”, said Nabila Al-Anjeri, General Manager of Leaders Group Company for Consultancy and Development (Leaders Group), pointing out that tourism was responsible for 28 percent of the world’s services revenues and 11 percent of the world’s economic output. “All other GCC states have achieved progress in terms of their ranking in world tourism while Kuwait is retreating every year”, she underlined. 

In the company’s monthly report, AlAnjeri added that according to the Travel And Tourism Competitiveness Indicator for 2013, Kuwait came last amongst GCC states and 101 out of 140 countries worldwide. She added that according to the Conde Nast Travel Magazine, USA, unlike Dubai, Kuwait does not have the infrastructure needed to attract tourists. In its 2013 report on non-attractive countries for tourism such as Pakistan, Angola and Togo, the magazine placed Kuwait fifth in the world pointing that, except for restaurants and shopping malls, it lacks recreational facilities. Al-Anjeri also pointed that the strength of Kuwait’s currency compared to dollar was one of the many obstacles tourists may face as they would have to exchange $3.5 per Kuwaiti dinar. She added that there were six points to be taken into consideration on the world’s tourism competiveness scales: Laws and regulations that would attract visitors and foreigners Qualified infrastructure like airports, their capacity, hotels, transport grids and recreational sitesCommercial environment and shopping sitesHuman resourcesCultural diversityCountry’s nature and climateLG’s report stressed that Kuwait lacks most of the above and that Kuwaiti legislations including strict rules for issuing visit and entry visas for foreigners repelled foreign investors. The report also noted that the current airport was always congested during busy seasons with little avenues to expand it while other GCC state airports meet international standards. 
The report also laid emphasis that GCC states were preparing to spend $380 billion on regional touristic projects like building developed touristic centers and facilities capable of attracting tourists till 2018. The report wondered where Kuwait is placed here and whether it will build and develop such touristic projects in the future. 
Kuwaitis spend over $5 billion annually on foreign tourism because of lack of local tourism and recreational projects whichwould meet citizens’ needs for recreation. 
The report added that 60 percent of Kuwaitis expenditure on tourism, around KD 962 million, was spent on recreation (with a 6 percent increase) while 40 percent (KD 616 million) was spent on business tourism (with 7.8 percent increase) in 2012. This means that Kuwaitis spent KD 2.4 billion on flight tickets and hotels alone. The report also quoted the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s tourism sector remarks, according to international tourism industry indicators, that Kuwaiti tourists spent the highest on touristic journeys which was $1,500 per journey - twice of what European tourists would spend. 
The ministry’s statistics also showed that Kuwait had 6,972 hotel rooms including 3,002 in five-star hotels, 1,376 in four-star hotels, 1,297 in three-star hotels, 226 in two-star hotels, 54 in one-star hotels and 972 unclassified rooms.

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