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Company still at beginning of studies and putting forward ideas
KUWAIT CITY, Jan 26: The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kuwaiti Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC), Mohammad Al-Saqqaf, said that the company intends to develop two tourism projects on the Kuwaiti island of Failaka and the site of the entertainment city in the Doha area, west of the capital, at a total cost that may reach 500 million dinars ($1.64 billion), reports Al-Rai daily. Al-Saqqaf said in an interview with “Reuters” that “the company is still at the beginning of studies and putting forward ideas” to see the most appropriate solutions for these two giant projects to see that the Tourism Enterprises Company undertakes these projects through the assistance of the Kuwait Investment Authority, or that it participates in them with the private sector.
He explained that there are two possibilities for financing these two projects: the tourism enterprise itself, with the assistance of the General Investment Office, or the participation of the private sector in them. However, Al-Saqqaf added that private sector involvement would be “very difficult” in light of the current Law No. 105, which only allows the private sector to lease public property under contracts for only three years with the possibility of renewal. given that this limited period “does not encourage the private sector” to participate in projects with high financial costs.
He explained that the company is unable to take out loans to finance these two projects because it does not own the land, but benefits from it under a usufruct agreement with the Department of State Property. these lands, so how can a bank give you a loan?” Many Kuwaitis complain that their country is suffering from the deterioration of its tourist facilities and the inability to renovate or develop them for many years, as the Corona epidemic crisis and the loss of travel for many residents have exposed the weakness and limited opportunities for entertainment in this country. which several decades ago served as a role model for the rest of the Arabian Gulf countries.
During public holidays and during the summer season, many citizens rush to travel in search of new places of entertainment abroad, as destinations such as Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have become traditional destinations for Kuwaitis and their families. The new board of directors, which was formed in September last year, is dedicated to creating entertainment initiatives that last for a limited period of time and require limited financial costs through projects that can be implemented quickly. Al-Saqqaf said: “We must have a calendar (for events). Every month or two we host an event and update it so the entertainment is updated and not boring.” The company has launched several such initiatives over the past few months, including the Kuwait Winter Wonderland project, which took place at the People’s Park site at the start of winter. Al-Saqqaf said the company aims to implement this project throughout the year rather than for a short period.
The company also launched the Container Park project, coinciding with the Qatar World Cup events, which is an entertainment event that showcases matches in the Blajat district of Salmiya, as well as other entertainment activities such as games and music shows. Al-Saqqaf said the board of directors is focusing on ensuring that the entertainment offered by the company caters to all ages. He added: “Our goal is to provide entertainment for all age groups, not just one, but we are talking about domestic tourism. . not foreign tourism.” He noted that in this context, among the ideas put forward was that an entertainment city should include chalets, artificial lakes, cafes, shops, tennis courts, a cultural theater and other facilities catering to all groups, adding that “entertainment should have a cultural and social dimension.”