“The tourism sector is becoming [highly important] to Kuwait, seeing how the government is starting to take development

initiatives that are becoming a reality in time.

Kuwait has plenty of potential in this regard, and there are many plans to develop infrastructure, upgrade tourism facilities and introduce new projects that are already underway,” confirmed Hakan Petek, general manager, Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa, Kuwait.

With tourism becoming an emerging niche segment for the destination, the government, among other initiatives, is taking steps to establish a general authority that would take full responsibility of the sector, as Al Anjari disclosed.

In addition, infrastructural upgrades are in process on various fronts, with the Ministry of Communications working on the implementation of Kuwait Metropolitan Rapid Transit System.

The project – which is expected to help define the future direction of public transport in the country – paving the way for further public transportation developments – will comprise 69 stations covering a total length of 160km.

Unfolding in five phases, the system is to commence operations in 2020.

Likewise, the new passenger terminal at Kuwait International Airport is scheduled for completion in the coming months.

“Airports across the Middle East, and the GCC in particular, are undergoing massive developments as governments aim to increase capacity and improve services in line with the subsequent growth in passenger traffic and demand.

Throughout the emerging markets, a total of USD50 billion has been allocated for airport projects; in Kuwait, USD6 billion was earmarked for the expansion of its international airport,” revealed Yousef Sulaiman Al Fouzan, director general, Directorate of General Civil Aviation, Kuwait, on the occasion of the annual Emerging Airports Conference and Exhibition 2015, held in the country.

The expansion will increase the airfield’s capacity from six to 13 million and up to 25 million passengers per year by 2025.

Meanwhile, other developments within the country’s aviation market continue to fuel hoteliers optimism, with Schuler reporting that while the implementation of the national tourism strategy has been stalled for the past years, ambitious plans set out for Kuwait Airways will be the brick on which to build a solid base for the tourism industry.

Indeed, the flag carrier has embarked on a phased commercial strategy to enhance its network and flight schedule, and is progressively withdrawing from poorly-performing routes which are not expected to contribute to profitable development, whilst also developing more direct frequencies to key destinations.

In line with this, Kuwait Airways suspended services between London and New York, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, as well as operations from Kuwait to the two Asian capitals, as well as Sohag and Alexandria.

Nevertheless, as part of its fleet renewal strategy, the airline has agreed with Airbus to receive 25 new jets, including 10 A350-900s and 15 A320neos. Rasha Al Roumi, chairperson, Kuwait Airways, commented that the deal will strengthen the carrier’s long-haul route development whilst the A320neo will further boost its regional network.

In another positive development, privately-owned Jazeera Airways’ financial results in the first nine months of 2015 indicated that net profit surged 11.7 percent year-on-year, touching KWD14.47 million (USD47.69 million).