REQUIRES ATTENTION AND CAREFUL NURTURING TO REACH ITS FULL POTENTIAL. GOVERNMENT AND HOSPITALITY PLAYERS ARE FULLY COMMITTED TO ACHIEVE JUST THAT.
With oil prices dramatically dropping in the past few months, Kuwait – just like many other countries in the Gulf – is compelled to seek other sources of revenue and exploit its geographical position and political stability to further accelerate opportunities in the promising tourism sector.
Nabila Al Anjari, general manager, Leaders Group for Consulting and Development, the representative of World Tourism Organization in Kuwait, confirmed, “Factors affecting the drop in oil prices and the impact on budget surplus as well as income overall, are an indicator today that Kuwait should look to generate income from other sectors to cover losses to its budget.”
A report issued by the group shows that despite government expenditures exceeding USD11 billion, Kuwait’s tourism industry falls behind other Gulf countries in terms of infrastructure, number of travellers as well as income generated by the sector.
In sharp contrast, the national GDP is second in the GCC after Qatar, reaching USD173 billion annually, equivalent to USD43,250 per capita.
After June 2015, the industry as a whole experienced a significant decline in business which, according to Peter Schuler, general manager, Symphony Style Hotel, Kuwait, was related to various factors, including the plunge in oil prices, the regional political unrest and the unfavourable circumstances at the country’s stock market during that period.
“[This year] looks very challenging because of the drop in MICE business but the most influencing factor will be the decline in oil prices as Kuwait is known for its generous government spending; yet we still believe that the corporate and MICE segments connected to the new projects springing up will help drive business,” projected Schuler.
As per World Travel & Tourism Council, the destination is expected to have welcomed nearly 300,000 international tourists in 2015 and with improved transport infrastructure, an expanded hotel portfolio and a raft of new leisure and entertainment options, the industry is set to continue to grow bit by bit.