With ambitions to welcome 440,000 visitors a year by 2024, the government of Kuwait is pressing ahead with multiple plans that will see billions of dollars invested in projects and a further $1 billion budget earmarked to promote the Gulf state over the same period. Plans are in place to establish a Supreme Commission for Tourism to initiate its tourism strategy.
A number of mega-projects will share the multi-billion-dollar development budget, including: Madinat Al Hareer and Silk City, a proposed mega-development in the country’s north; the expansion of Kuwait International Airport, reaching 25 million passenger per year capacity by 2025; and cultural attractions such as Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Islamic Centre.
Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM, said: “Kuwait is evolving into a multifaceted destination with many things to offer both corporate and leisure visitors. The government is making huge investments at a crucial time for the country’s development and, in channelling significant funds into tourism infrastructure, leisure developments and lifestyle destinations, in the long-term Kuwait is telling the world it’s very much open for business.”
According to figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel and tourism investment in Kuwait is set to rise 1.5 per cent per annum over the next ten years to KD135.6 million ($445 million) in 2027.
The latest Colliers International Kuwait Hospitality Market Snapshot, reports 70 per cent of visitors arrived in Kuwait as corporate travellers in 2016, with the country’s leisure industry comprising only 6 per cent of total arrivals – hotel performance declined 6 per cent overall for the year as a result. Business spending also suffered losses, falling 2.4 per cent over the course of the year. Key hotel performance indicators showed slight declines in 2016 with ADR down 2.3 per cent, RevPAR down 4.8 per cent and occupancy down 2.6 per cent.
Performance is forecast for strong recovery in 2017 with continued growth to 2026, reaching values of KD501.3 million ($1.64 billion). Leisure travel spending is expected rise by 4.5 per cent per annum to KD1,939.1 million ($6,365 million) in 2026, following an annual growth rate of 8.7 per cent last year.
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