Kuwait Not Very Touristic

Post by Mark

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report for 2017 by the World Economic Forum is out and Kuwait pretty much comes in last place in the Middle East with the only other country that performed worst being Yemen. Below is Kuwait’s world ranking compared to other Middle Eastern countries:

29 United Arab Emirates
47 Qatar
60 Bahrain
63 Saudi Arabia
66 Oman
75 Jordan
93 Iran
96 Lebanon
100 Kuwait
136 Yemen

Going through the data I found one thing pretty shocking, under the section “Environmental Sustainability”, Kuwait came in before last position world wide in 135th place. We also were at the bottom of the list when it came to “Cultural Resources and Business Travel”, “Natural Resources”, “International Openness” and “Prioritization of Travel & Tourism”.

The highest position we reached in any category was 31st place for “ICT Readiness” (information and communications technology). In that category Kuwait came first world wide in “Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions /100 pop.” and third world wide for “Mobile-broadband subscriptions /100 pop”.

If you’re interested in read the whole report you can download it from [Here]


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57 comments, add your own...


  1. ahmed alrasheed says:

    i think we are on the road towards the right way, i mean look at dubai 10 years ago, it started will malls (which is where we are at right now), then exhibitions and showrooms (which is what is already happening but at a local scope, so it needs to grow a bit though the latest comic gatherings were pretty good)
    and the final stage is actual entertainment in the sense of amusement parks and all

    so its bad that we were actually leading in all those terms once and now trailing, but we are making a come back (i hope)

    • Mark says:

      Don’t forget our airport as well which will be done soon

    • s says:

      Yeah I agree with you, and have actually seen some improvements! About the sustainability part of the article. It is quite saddening that we are one of the worst sustainable country in the world. But great to see is that we are doing quite an improvement than before. For example in some streets, pavements, and walking routes are putting lights which are run by solar power. Which is great! Also seen many beach clean ups, activities, and events that improve future hope in Kuwait’s sustainable rate. Also I agree many beaches are dirty, but from my experiences and opinion it is better to come when you have someone you know in Kuwait, so they can show you all the best destinations from their experience, and show you the best places so you have the best time you can possibly have. And if you own a chalet (beach house), it is a lot better since the beach is a lot cleaner and the sea is a lot nicer. But I do understand not everyone has a chalet.But to sum things up, it seems Kuwait is improving a lot green-wise, which is great, but we have to keep on going.But I still believe that Kuwait can make a difference!!! :D

  2. for real though says:

    In other news, water is wet and heat is hot

  3. Luis says:

    Well, try to make a Kuwait visit visa for someone who isn’t a first degree relative to someone living in Kuwait, and isn’t holding a passport from the 30-ish countries who get visa on arrival … and you will understand why it’s in the bottom list of tourism.
    Regardless of the activities they would consider doing in Kuwait.

  4. MarhabaCFK says:

    Agree with Ahmed, if visa rules and general apprehensions towards foreigners (and visitors) are fine tuned, then Kuwait is definitely on it’s way up this list in a few years 👍🏻

  5. Raz says:

    There are a few good projects that have come up from a touristic perspective – The Cultural Center, Shaheed Park, Boulevard, some food courts (?) on the sea side towards Mahboula and Fahaheel etc.

    A good thing about Kuwait (as of now) is that you can enjoy all this with relatively less crowd, if not every day then at least during the weekends and holidays – compared to Dubai which is crowded every day of the year regardless of which day of the week it is.

  6. Bo Ali says:

    We will never be like Dubai .. Having the same leaders for years and years and expecting different results is pure insanity.👎🏼

    • Proud Kuwaiti says:

      We don’t want to be like Dubai.

      • justin says:

        Great. Then whatever plan they have is working.

        • Proud Kuwaiti says:

          Yes it’s working. We now have the biggest Opera House in the Middle East that is attracting many regional tourists to the country, since the Iranian superstar GooGoosh performed.

          • Bo Ali says:

            I really hope you are joking.

            • Proud Kuwaiti says:

              Why would I be joking? Many Bahrainis came to Kuwait just to see GooGoosh perform at the Opera House.

              GooGoosh hasn’t performed in Bahrain in over 40 years. She was supposed to have a concert there in 2010 but it got cancelled.

              The GooGoosh concert attracted hundreds of Bahrainis to Kuwait over the weekend.

              • Sh says:

                @Proud Kuwaiti

                Please tell me you are not judging a country’s progress on an opera house.

                • Proud Kuwaiti says:

                  We don’t need to be another Dubai. Kuwait is Kuwait.

                  A country’s progress is based on many factors (social, political, economic, cultural). The Opera House is a testament of development and progress and opening up culturally.

                  Kuwait has progressed a lot in the last few years in terms of cultural activities, leisure options, and other factors that contribute to tourism.

                  The Amiri Diwan is creating many touristic leisurely projects such as the Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Al Salam Palace, Al Shaheed Park, and most importantly Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre.

                  We are witnessing a cultural renaissance along with more youth entreprenuership and grassroots movements like Madeenah, the Secret Garden, Equait, MantaqaMe, among many others.

                  The cultural scene is blossoming. There are way more events happening. Compared to 10 years ago and even 20 years ago. There are so many more activities and cultural offerings that all contribute to tourism. Including big events like Nuqat and the Kuwait International Fashion Week.

                  Alcohol has been illegal since 1964, so even during the so-called “Golden Era” tourism was dead! People need to stop acting like there is no progress when in fact, Kuwait has progressed so much in the last 10 years.

                  In regional tourism, Kuwait is a popular leisure destination for Saudis, Emiratis, Bahrainis, Qataris, etc.

                  For the Qataris, did you know that Kuwait is a more popular tourist destination than Dubai?

                  Source:

                  http://www.gulf-times.com/story/546932/Turkey-drawing-more-tourists-from-Qatar-this-year

                  A number of destinations in the region remained popular to Qatar travellers, with Kuwait receiving more visitors than Dubai, based on Alpha’s records.

                  “This year, we are seeing a high demand for Kuwait because many people go there for shopping, it has become a shopping destination,” he said.

                  “Most of them are ladies, they find better deals there and that is something interesting we noticed from January to May this year,” said Rustom.

                  The mere fact we have so many Qataris and Bahrainis coming to our country for shopping and Googoosh concert is a testament to the progress that Kuwait’s leisure industry has made in the last few years.

                  Anyway with your pessimistic attitude you’ll always look at the glass half empty.

              • Maz says:

                Because Mr Proud Kuwaiti, our country is practically a joke today. You are happy about an Opera House. When that is all well and nice and its good to have Gogoosh sing,everything else in this country is a complete joke.

                1. Corruption around almost all areas in the government from the top down

                2. Lack of humanitarian support for non-nationals and expats

                3. Theft and Fraud given the other cheek

                4. Customs and Municipality acting as (illegal) obstacles infront of any small business, usually asking for money or services as a bribe

                5. Corrupt police giving preferential treatment to their friends and family and/or being extra harsh on someone they don’t like

                6. Lack of a drive to learn and educate ourselves (majority of people)

                7. Most of your country barely speaks any language apart from Arabic (although they had 12 years of English education, plus their brains to decide to educate themselves)

                8. Practically no parties or any public gatherings without going through many many loopholes and Wastas

                9. No alcohol or any recreational drugs

                10. Barely any attractions (maybe 30 in the entire country? rough #)

                11. Crazy dangerous drivers

                12. Very expensive for expats

                13. No animal rights

                14. Socially unaccepted freedoms of religion (although our constitution empowers it)

                I can go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point.

                (Don’t bother saying “If you don’t like it you can leave” if you were planning to)

                • NG says:

                  +n.

                  If this was on Reddit, I would have created multiple accounts *just* to upvote it. Aptly captures the issues plaguing Kuwait at the moment.

                • Sh says:

                  @ProudKuwaiti

                  I like this country I do but you need to be more tolerant to the drawbacks which are plentiful.

                  Maz has stated what we all in this country go through.

                  It doesnt have to be the NEXT Dubai but it can definitely become a better Kuwait for everyone and YES, I know we are headed in that direction. I am so glad to see so many projects being given a green signal and etc.

                • aziz says:

                  Maz you are a genius, i agree 100%

  7. Zoro says:

    I think Kuwait needs a metro and to relax its laws regarding alcohol and it will become more touristic.

    • Sulaiman-COOKIEEE says:

      Yes I’m sure if Kuwait built a metro and put pretty busses on the road the tourists are gonna be practically flooding the airport

  8. justin says:

    Until Kuwait starts to clean up it’s beaches and water I can’t see it becoming a real tourist destination. Also, the entry process into Kuwait is extremely unwelcoming. And even if they fix those two major issues tourists will still want to be able to have a glass of wine or beer with dinner and I don’t see the government relaxing the alcohol laws anytime soon.

    • Mark says:

      Kuwait doesn’t have to be a beach destination. It’s already pretty popular with Bahrainis and Saudis as a food/shopping destination, they could build on that as a start.

      I also think alcohol is more important for the expats living here than the tourists coming. Tourists can come here and not expect to find alcohol cuz its an islalmic country and if they do care they’re here only for a few days so they can deal with no alcohol.

      • Sam says:

        I guess there will be a lot of Saudis who will prefer to just drive down to Kuwait over the weekend and drink instead of flying to Dubai.

        • Mark says:

          it would be easier to just drive to Bahrain. plus trust me, you don’t want those kind of tourists in Kuwait, just take a trip to Bahrain on any weekend to get a better idea on why.

      • meh says:

        I still don’t understand how Kuwait can be a food and shopping destination.

        The restaurants here are incomparable to other countries and we have one big mall with shops like any other mall in the world.

        • Mark says:

          thats like saying why do people go to bali for the beach since we have beaches in kuwait like any other in the world. not all beaches are equal and not all malls are equal. Avenues is a pretty impressive mall compared to majority of the malls around the world and with phase 4 its going to be even a bigger attraction. food wise we’re also pretty advanced here compared to our neighboring countries. when it comes to locally created concepts i think we are far more superior than all the locally created concepts in Dubai or Qatar or Bahrain etc..

          • meh says:

            So a foreigner takes time off, travels to Kuwait for his holiday, specifically to go to an “impressive mall”, then tries to dine at the trendiest advanced local concept habra, and then ends the night at a 5 star hotel with old furniture.

            LOL.

        • aaa says:

          The restaurants here are good tho?

  9. Ipsom says:

    I for one definitely dont want alcohol to be legalized for the main reason that mark stated above… Because then most of the “tourists” will be Saudis wanting to drink………

  10. s says:

    About the sustainability part of the article. It is quite saddening that we are one of the worst sustainable country in the world. But great to see is that we are doing quite an improvement than before. For example in some streets, pavements, and walking routes are putting lights which are run by solar power. Which is great! Also seen many beach clean ups, activities, and events that improve future hope in Kuwait’s sustainable rate. Also I agree many beaches are dirty, but from my experiences and opinion it is better to come when you have someone you know in Kuwait, so they can show you all the best destinations from their experience, and show you the best places so you have the best time you can possibly have. And if you own a chalet (beach house), it is a lot better since the beach is a lot cleaner and the sea is a lot nicer. But I do understand not everyone has a chalet.But to sum things up, it seems Kuwait is improving a lot green-wise, which is great, but we have to keep on going.But I still believe that Kuwait can make a difference!!! :D

  11. s says:

    So yeah, seen a lot of improvement over the past year or so. Great job Kuwait, keep the work going!!!!!! :D

  12. Suelen says:

    Even the first place it’s somehow a sad first place.

  13. Halyoosha says:

    Kuwait is not as bad as the results shown, I actually feel like its doing well so far and developing. It might not be ready for tourism yet or willing to be open to it but personally I wouldn’t want it to turn in to another Dubai. It has its own flair/charm, It’s a family friendly, culturally preserved, safe place with hospitable people. Maybe I see it that way because I am Kuwaiti and this is my home, therefore an outsider’s point of view might be different. Either ways even many foreigners love the country (GCC , Western)
    There are a lot of new projects in the pipeline so Kuwait is trying :)

  14. bla bla theory says:

    Yes we need to improve in every aspect, but we don’t want to be another Dubai.

    We need to have strategic plans, improve the public sector, make it easy for the private sector to work. By then , Kuwait will improve for Kuwaities, expats and tourists.

  15. adly says:

    Tourism is a great way for countries to increase the amount of revenue they make, especially in times of economic recession like the recession Kuwait has been going through for a couple of years now that has no end in sight since the price of oil is going to keep going down as Libya, Iraq, and Iran pump more and more oil and as long as KSA doesnt reduce the amount of oil its already producing and selling.That said, there is so much Kuwait would need to do with regards to procedures for issuing tourist visas, and for the prices of hotel rooms, public transport, coming up with more things for tourists to do etc,that its a very far fetched dream for now.

    Kuwait could easily fix its economy by making it a more pleasant (open) place for the people that already live here for both expats and locals alike. If Kuwait allowed expats to buy property, many would and that would be a huge source of revenue. Moreover, if Kuwait opened up a lot more of the land, prices would go down, and then even many Kuwaitis who cant afford to buy a villa currently would, instead of deciding to invest in Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Spain, Cyprus,Dubai, and all the other places where they can buy a house or apt for a 10th of the price here.

    The same goes for entertainment : An Opera house is great, but 2000 seats is nothing compared to concert venues where you can sell 30,000 tickets for each concert. the UAE has over 50 concerts a year and caters to the entire region not just residents of the UAE. if you do the math, thats plane tickets, and visas, and hotels and going out and eating, and buying stuff etc. Each person who goes to a concert in the UAE probably spends around KD 500 and each family that goes for the weekend spends around KD 1500. Thats a huge amount of money.

    Finally, there is currently a huge exodus of expats leaving Kuwait for good. The more expats that leave, the less money that is being circulated in the country, the less spending there is, the more empty apartments you end up with and the vicious circle continues.

    So many simple solutions, some being implemented next door, while we sit here and watch the situation slowly get worse and worse……

    • Sulaiman-COOKIEEEEE says:

      Im afraid your wrong, the money generated by tourism goes to the private sector which will be stored in a back somewhere, the only way the government can make money of that is by taxing these companies which will lead to tax havens ect. Kuwait’s corporate tax laws have lots of loopholes.

      This isn’t a controlled economy and so the money goes to the private sector for any item sold not provided by the government.

      The country cannot make the visa system easy firstly because we don’t have an airport to manage and secondly because the government would rather pick an choose who they like which in my opinion is much better than letting anyone in just because that people can come.

      Tourism is seasonal that means that its not very reliable also you seem to work on ceteris paribus which as we both know isn’t the case in real life. Tourism and the economy fluctuates, we can see this between 2008 and 2011 when Dubai had a major decrease in tourists.

      For your last point expats don’t add as much to the circular flow as you claim, this is because the money is sent back as a remittency.

      Your “solutions” aren’t long term neither are they that profitable for the government which as any good economics student would know the government tries to provide affordable services to the people of the country. Kuwait can make much more money by allowing business to work here as a “tax haven” or make the country more business friendly which is what they are attempting to do. With the expertise of these firms the local people can gain knowledge in order for them to start their own business which when research and development is added may someday go global.

      • adly says:

        Whats wrong with money going to the private sector? the more money that goes there, the higher salaries become, the more Kuwaitis who might be tempted to work in the private sector and the more money expats make/spend in Kuwait as well. Plus, once VAT in implemented, the government will make more money too. Moreover, its incredibly easy nowadays to screen visa applicants and not to give visas to undesirables since most security systems around the world are linked together.

        With regards to expats and their spending power here and how much money they send home, you would be amazed at just how much they spend in Kuwait on rent, groceries,restaurants and entertainment. Im not talking about the household help and drivers of course, but the huge number of middle class expats here…

      • k-man says:

        Did you literally just say growing the private sector is pointless? And then you have the audacity to say something like “any good economics student would know”?

        The delusion is real, fam.

  16. Sheri says:

    there should be few entertainment cities in Kuwait…..

    • Halyoosha says:

      I agree with that. I miss going to a proper theme park. I felt upset when they closed down the old Entertainment City. Yes it was outdated and falling apart but still it was such a fun place! They plan on replacing it with a better one but looks like that will take ages!

      • Mark says:

        They closed down entertainment city because they were gonna replace it correct but it was right as oil prices dropped to under $50 a barrel. So entertainment city was put on the back burner.

  17. JamesJ says:

    Traffic

    over expensive things

    oh and no spot for in beach.

  18. zaydoun says:

    The biggest problem remains the extremely unfriendly visa process, which then leads to extremely unfriendly immigration staff at an extremely unfriendly airport

  19. J. Smith says:

    As a non-Kuwati I have to say Kuwait is not appealing to or welcoming of non-Kuwati’s. Dubai seems more tolerant of different people and certainly has seen the positive economic impact tourism can have on a country. Its sad and it will keep Kuwait at the bottom of such lists and will continue to make Kuwait seem like a scary and “not worth visiting country” to the rest of the world and sadly give the Kuwati people a bad reputation.

    • Halyoosha says:

      Maybe you had some bad encounters which is understandable and can happen in many other countries. Even I myself as Kuwaiti faced it from a couple of locals. As with every country there are good and bad people.

      Dubai is more tolerant because it thrives on tourism, not oil. With all the foreigners flowing in they depend on it so it’s more of a tourist-friendly place and they maintain that image.


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