Kuwait tourism sector dwindling claims industry

Guest Writer

Kuwait’s tourism sector is becoming non-existent due to the lack of interest from the country’s government, key tourism players have bemoaned.Lack of governmental interest or active participation in the segment has dragged the tourism sector into “oblivion”, according to Sunil D’souza, a regional travel manager at Kanoo Travel.Speaking to Arabian Business said unless the Gulf state put together a strategy to develop the sector and attract more international visitors, tourism would be non-existent.He was making his thoughts on the subject known after HE Sheikh Mubarak AM Al Sabah, Chairman of Kuwait-based hotelier Action Hotels, conceded that there was “limited tourism in Kuwait” due to lack of government support. “We are a very liberal country and no different from any other GCC state but we are not promoted. The infrastructure is not there to attract tourists to be a hub,” he told Arabian Business.However, the regional director for the Middle East at the UNWTO, Amr Abdel Ghaffar, said while tourism had not been a developmental priority for the Government of Kuwait to date, there were recent “positive signs of change”.”This includes the establishment of a General Tourism Authority, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to devise, with the assistance of UNWTO, a comprehensive strategy and action plan for the sustainable development and promotion of the sector,” he explained,Travel and tourism contributes just 3.7 percent to Kuwait’s total GDP and research company Euromonitor International expects this to fall to around 3% by 2019. It is also expected that tourism related employment will slump from 71,000 jobs in 2009 to 65,000 jobs in 2019. Euromonitor data revealed that in 2009, just over $400 million was contributed by incoming tourists to the Kuwait economy.

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