Kuwait’s passivity to tourism leaves COVID recovery elusive

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Kuwait Towers
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While its neighbors continue to invest heavily, Kuwait’s low profile approach and passive approach in developing as a regional and international tourist destination have heavily diminished its aspirations for economic recovery from the pandemic’s effect. 

For the large sum of citizens and ex-pats in Kuwait lack of recreational options is part and parcel of their life in the country.

While the affluent own or rent farms, and chalets, for recreational purposes and wind down from the psychological pressures exerted by the isolation, the lesser privileged community is left with spending time at malls for their respite.

Experts from the real estate segment emphasize that even though Kuwait has all the facilities to be a tourist destination, lack of recreational facilities has made the tourism sector non-existent.

These experts remark that it is high time that the government makes necessary interventions to encourage local investments through public-private collaborations and facilitate investors to develop distinctive entertainment project which makes Kuwait unique among its neighbors.

Mr. Abdulrhman Al Terkait, Vice Chairman & CEO of one of the leading realtors in Kuwait, Arkan Kuwait Real Estate remarks that “The state did not seriously address the development of entertainment projects as there was no encouragement or setting up of government tenders for these projects, despite the Kuwaiti construction companies living up to international standards that enable them to design, create and complete entertainment projects.”

Mr. Al Terkait cited lack of availability and allocation of land, difficult legal procedures and exorbitant capital costs as primary reasons behind the lack of new tourism-focused projects in the country.

The Arkan Kuwait CEO reemphasized that apart from its benefits and positive implications to the society, the projects offer an avenue for a good economic return which can help Kuwait’s financial position.

Mr. Al Terkait remarked that if Kuwait wants to create a unique entertainment environment in the highly competitive tourism-friendly region, it will have to;

  • Provide for material facilities and encouraging investment for entertainment projects.
  • Attract the private sector by allocating lands based on the “build–operate–transfer” (B.O.T) model for recreational projects.
  • Ease the process for tourist visits for foreigners.
  • Attract technically competent and skilled investors to complete entertainment cities.