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Major focus needed on reviving domestic tourism

Domestic tourism is booming in several countries across the world, particularly during time of distress, said Nabila Al-Anjeri, General Manager of Leaders Group Company for Consultancy and Development.

Al-Anjeri pointed out that several regional countries have begun adopting such policies due to political crisis in many of the touristic destinations of their nationals’. Therefore, they are holding more domestic recreational activities to make up for the losses in foreign tourism.

She said that Kuwait does not attract foreign tourists. But, the authorities concerned, should focus on activating domestic tourism, following Saudi Arabia’s footsteps, for instance. Due to political situations prevailing in both Syria and Egypt, this may prove to be the best option, she emphasized, and noted that instead of spending millions abroad, nationals should be encouraged to do this at home.

For instance, travel costs for a five-day journey are more than KD100mn, out of which, 55 percent are spent in the form of airfare and hotel charges. The report also showed that as per official records, 292,999 passengers left during Eid Al Adha for vacation, with 1201,000 having travelled by planes.

The report pointed out to the period 1970s when the Ministry organized special recreational programs for nationals and expatriates to set up a base for domestic tourism, and several international band and artists were invited to perform in Kuwait. This was followed by founding the Touristic Enterprises Company with more than 17 facilities all over Kuwait.

However, after the opening of the Khairan Resort in 1987, nothing has opened ever-since, and the condition is deteriorating, she pointed out, comparing the Kuwait’s Ice Skating Rink with that of Dubai, which is most developed in the world.

Al-Anjeri further said that The Fountain Garden was opened in 1983 with 220 fountains, but now, it turned into ponds of stagnant waters, in comparison to the Dancing Fountain in Dubai.

Privatizing tourists facilities may be an option to be considered, particularly since TEC’s profits in 2012 were low at KD296,000 in comparison to KD2.1mn over the previous five years, she suggested, blaming the previous governments over the past 20 years for the deteriorating condition of Kuwait’s touristic facilities.

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