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‘Billions spent as going to different places in locals blood’
KUWAIT CITY, June 25: Traveling abroad is considered almost routine by Kuwaitis whenever opportunity arises, be it during holidays or summer seasons and there are many travel destinations and different goals for trips in light of the high tourist culture that Kuwaitis enjoy as a result of frequent travel and their constant passion for seasonal migration, reports Al-Qabas daily. In the face of important holidays, the most important of which is the summer, citizens start booking tickets for travel abroad on tourist trips to escape from the hot summer season in Kuwait and seek to spend enjoyable periods in a family atmosphere in countries that provide the required luxury, which may not exist in the country such as nature and mountains resorts.
The mechanisms for choosing the intended destination vary according to various factors, including preferred and safe destination, the appropriate economic cost, advice from friends and campaigns of tourism offices and hotel offers and hotel discounts. This is followed by the process of completing travel procedures which begins through the specialized programs on the Internet or through travel offices, tourism and airline agents.
Travel destinations preferred by Kuwaitis vary and differ during the holiday season, and if we exclude the treatment trips which are governed by special circumstances, the most important destinations are clear after followup and analysis of tourism performance over the past years and citizens’ surveys about upcoming destinations, the change of priorities, which can be separated for two phases – the pre-epidemic and post-epidemic Corona phase, without neglecting the intermediate phase during the outbreak of the epidemic, which witnessed some travel trips – though few – when conditions allowed at that time.
In 2019, we find that travelers headed towards nearby countries, and Lebanon, Egypt and Dubai were among the most prominent destinations during quick holidays, while they go to farther regions during summer holidays, so Turkey, London, Georgia and America emerged favorites. While during previous years we witnessed a clear fluctuation among Kuwaitis, with the emergence of sudden new destinations such as Bosnia, Georgia and Bulgaria, according to what was confirmed by one of the reservations officials of the Eva airline in media statements about the reservations for the summer of 2017, as destinations that the Kuwaiti traveler was not accustomed to.
According to the statistics given by Mubasher, which provides more than 600,000 hotels around the world, in 2017, the most important destinations were Dubai which accounted for 29% of Kuwaiti flights; London as a preferred destination for historical and cultural reasons; Paris, which contains fashion markets, restaurants and theaters; Barcelona with a passion for football and attending matches; Munich as one of the favorite cities for Kuwaitis, and it is close to Austria, without forgetting that Germany is a preferred destination for treatment; New York is unique to Kuwaitis, and is reserved for businessmen and politicians; Istanbul is a tourist city with a distinctive atmosphere and a special location; Rome, which captures a large share of the Kuwaiti market; Los Angeles, which is a good outlet to other US states; Bangkok, which is one of the best cities in the world, for its cheapness and distinctive activities. As for Hussein Al-Sulaiten, a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Tourism and Travel Offices and head of the media committee, he explained in his media statements that the travel season during the last Eid was for Turkey, London, Dubai and Cairo, with a strong demand for travel, because the last Eid holiday was the first holiday after the epidemic.
After the epidemic, Turkey has remarkably returned to the top of the destination for Kuwaiti tourists since last year due to overlapping factors, on top of which is the decline in the exchange rate of the Turkish lira, which was reflected in the amounts spent by the Kuwaiti on his trip, and the country does not require strict health measures around Corona, with licenses for airline tickets. No need for an entry visa.
Until the previous Eid al-Fitr holiday, airlines achieved remarkable revenues of $60 million, with aircraft occupancy rates rising by nearly 100% on all tourist destinations, especially those we mentioned, and ticket prices gradually rising from an average of $400 to $850 prior to the holiday. – Media reports and press interviews estimate that the revenues of tourism and travel agencies from the revenues of travel traffic during the official holidays, during these seasons, are about 20 million dinars. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently said air travel rebounded last February compared to January of the previous year 2022, with the effects of the Omicron mutating receding – and the report indicates that airlines in the Middle East recorded a rise in passenger traffic by 215.3% last February.
According to a report, the travel and tourism sector in Kuwait faces a number of challenges and obstacles, on top of which is the lack of an integrated and clear government vision to advance this sector, to take its place in supporting the national economy – which is reflected in Kuwait’s classification in the tourism industry, which constitutes 2.1% of GDP; with a value of only $2.5 billion, the country received only 182,000 international tourists, with an average revenue per tourist of approximately $2,739.
Sources say there is no integrated and clear government vision for upgrading the sector while there is need to provide good and attractive recreational areas for citizens, the country received only 182,000 international tourists in 2017 with average revenue per tourist of approximately $2,739. In the latest reading of the citizens’ poll about travel destinations this summer, we find the most prominent travel destinations for Kuwaitis this summer include Turkey, London, Bodrum, Cairo and Europe. Data shows the Kuwaitis have spent about seven billion dollars on travel in 2014; 20% of spending goes to hotels and the rest goes to airline tickets, entertainment and food.