Kuwait looks to enhance its tourism industry

Overview of Kuwait at ATM 2015

Tourism in Kuwait will soon get a shot in the arm. Recent statistics suggest that the country is looking to invest in its travel and tourism sector which is forecasted to grow by 4.3% per annum.

This has been reported for over the next decade through to 2025, with a total investment figure of KWD 276 million (US$ 1 billion).

Kuwait’s strategy for long-term tourism growth received a boost in 2015, with airport passenger volume growing from around 10 m travellers in 2014 to just over 10.2 m last year as the Gulf state ploughs ahead with plans to expand its transportation infrastructure.

These facts will be highlighted by the country’s authorities at the forthcoming Arabian Travel Market 2016.

According to a World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) report entitled ‘Kuwait Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2015’, tourism accounted for 1.5% of total GDP in 2015, and is set to rise by 0.3% by 2025, although this is being revisited given the current low oil prices scenario. This would take total GDP contribution to 1.8%, or KWD1.6 bn in 2025.

The report also highlighted potential gains in leisure spend, which is expected to grow by 6.2% per annum to KWD 2.4 bn in 2025, while business travel is expected to grow by 5.6% per annum to KWD457.3 m in 2025.

“Kuwait is focused on adding new high profile brands to its hotel mix as well as opening up the country with its expansion programme for Kuwait International airport,” said Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition Manager, Arabian Travel Market.

WTTC predictions put tourist arrivals at 440,000 by 2024 – up from 270,000 in 2014 – and increased capacity will be the catalyst for sector gains moving forward with leisure travel spending set to rise by 6.2% per annum through to 2025, and business travel, which saw a dip in 2015, forecast to pick up in the next 10 years with annual growth of 5.6%.

Kuwait also has a high domestic travel spend component, which generated 88.1% of direct Travel & Tourism GDP in 2014, and is expected to increase by 6.4% per annum through to 2025.

High-end brands such as Four Seasons, which will open its first 263-key Kuwait property at Burj Alshaya at the end of 2016, will be joined by the Mercure Kuwait (2017), Hilton Olympia Kuwait in 2019 and a Grand Hyatt in 2020.

It is also entering new mid-market territory with a number of upcoming projects including the 160-room Novotel Sharq (2017) and several Rotana properties, with a Centro Rotana set to debut in 2018 with 200 rooms.

World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)Arabian Travel Market 2016