KUWAIT CITY, Oct 8: Leaders Group for Consulting and Development, the representative of the World Tourism Organization in Kuwait, issued its monthly report on recent development in the tourism sector in Kuwait.
Leaders Group General Manager, Mrs Nabila M. Al-Anjari, said that Kuwait can largely depend on exhibitions, fairs, conferences and business tourism for future development of the industry because they fit Kuwait’s nature, economy and geopolitical regional location. She added that looking forward to financial reform requires giving due care to this type of tourism though those who set the reform chart had ignored such a fact that was the focal point Leaders Group research department focused on this month.
Al-Anjeri added that analyzing various local and GCC related elements showed that the conferences market could be a major economic and touristic pivot for Kuwait in the future due to the following reasons:
- Given that many people believe that Kuwait is incapable of competing with regional and international touristic destinations within the foreseeable future, it can otherwise depend on other types of tourism such as tourism for GCC families, residents, conferences, fairs, commercial and business forums.
- Attracting more foreign investments is the most important program on the economic and financial reform chart and that fairs and conferences tourism can thus become a mandatory channel to convince foreigners of the feasibility and benefits of investing in sectors and technologies Kuwait needs.
- Back to Kuwait Vision 2035, fairs and conferences tourism can become a necessary condition to turn Kuwait into a leading regional financial, commercial, cultural and institutional hub by 2035 and attract investments where the private sector can play a major role, encourage competitiveness and improve productivity efficiency while at the same time protecting Kuwait’s community identity, achieving balanced human resources development, providing suitable infrastructure, legislations and a heartening business environment.
- Though fairs and conferences market has developed in some GCC states, those countries’ share is still too little as it only makes 2 per cent of the total international conferences in the Middle East while those held in Europe and North America are more than 80 per cent, which means that GCC states still have a long way to go on getting and organizing a fair share compared to their oil-related, commercial and geopolitical value. Thus, this means that Kuwait has a great opportunity to increase its current share.
Comparison with GCC States
Kuwait is considerably lagging behind other GCC states in the fairs and conferences sector as all of them have prioritized it and considered it as tourism milestone. For instance, Bahrain established its Tourism and Exhibitions Authority in 2015 by combining The Supreme Tourism Council and Bahrain Authority for Conferences and Exhibitions, which had been established in 2006, giving it the task of attracting more tourists and enhancing Bahrain’s status as a major regional and international touristic center.
The same happed in Qatar which allocated $ 15 billion to develop the exhibitions and conferences industry sector and promote it.
Similarly, Oman took great leaps forward by establishing Oman Center for Exhibitions and Conferences that had a great impact on national economy and provided over 24,000 direct and indirect job opportunities and is expected to contribute by 30 per cent in Oman’s GPD through tourism revenues in 2030, according to a Boz & Company study.
Dubai & Jeddah
Exhibitions, conferences and hotel tourism forms around 15-30 per cent of the total hotel business in Dubai where is the backbone of hotel occupancy and plays a major role in reviving retail markets.
There are 300 official websites for holding conferences, exhibitions and forums in KSA where Jeddah alone has hosted over 30 per cent of those activities by hosting 1,536 of them during the first half of this year. This number is 24 times as much as the officially registered conferences held in Kuwait all year long.
The second notice is that businessmen coming to GCC states only form one third of the total number of tourists coming to the region in 2015, which means that Kuwait has to enhance regular tourism side by side with business, conferences and exhibitions tourism to come closer to GCC rates in this regard in order to achieve the ought socio-economic and sustainable development.
Gradual development of business, conferences and exhibitions tourism will help achieve over six basic economic results and form a base to turn any host country into a financial and commercial hub.