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Kuwait to double tourist arrivals to one million by 2015
Kuwait’s 5-year tourism plan buoyed by 19 percent increase in hotel RevPar, results of which impacts ATM online pre-registrations with 118 percent year-on-year increase
February 12, 2012 2:40 by Reuters
According to the latest STR hospitality report, Kuwait outperformed the Middle East and Africa market average in terms of its hotel RevPar performance.
Kuwait’s occupancy levels grew by 5.3 percent to 55.1 percent, average room rate improved from $221 to $227 and RevPar increased to $120, an extremely healthy 19.2 percent increase year-on-year.
The increases also supported a Euromonitor survey which recorded 554,000 arrivals in Kuwait in 2010 and forecast one million arrivals by 2015. Constant with those figures, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the leading travel exhibition in the Middle East, has also seen increased interest from Kuwait with the number of pre-registered visitors already up 118 percent from the same time last year ahead of this year’s event.
“Kuwait launched a five-year plan for tourism last year which aims to attract more leisure tourists. This is part of the government’s plan to develop the country as a commercial and financial centre alongside tourism,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
“One area that Kuwait could look to develop as part of this plan is the exhibitions and events sector, effectively bolting-on a programme of leisure activities either before or after business people conduct their meetings,” added Walsh.
In 2008, five-star hotels operated by international hotel chains dominated Kuwait’s hotel landscape but since then investors have been opening up lower- priced hotels and extended-stay properties.
Although Kuwait remains a predominantly business destination the Kuwaiti government is aiming to double its international airport capacity to 14 million passengers a year as it seeks to improve the country’s tourism infrastructure, to attract more leisure travelers.
“Kuwait’s decision to increase the capacity of its airport by 7 million to accommodate 14 million passengers highlights its ambition towards leisure tourism and its plans to become a travel hub for the northern Gulf,” commented Walsh.
Walsh’s comments are reflected in the online visitor registrations for this year’s four-day Arabian Travel Market show, which opens on 30 April 2012. Visitor registrations have so far reached nearly 2,000 visitors.
In addition, the number of visitors from Kuwait that have already registered is up 118 percent while the number of visitors who are interested in buying products and services from there has risen by 105 percent. The Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Mashaer Haj & Umrah Services Consortium and Al-Marwa Haj & Umrah Services head-up the list of exhibitors representing Kuwait this year.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and approaching its nineteenth year, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world. Last year 2,232 exhibitors covering nearly 20,000 square metres, attracted more than 22,000 attendees.
The line-up for this year’s Arabian Travel Market will bring a number of brand new events including the inaugural UNWTO regional tourism ministers’ conference and the WTM Vision forum, which will focus on Middle East travel trends and the online travel market.
Covering the entire week, the popular Seminar Theatre series of sessions will address industry hot topics from developments in the aviation sector and hotel branding to Sharia-compliant travel.
The all-new Tech Theatre is a dedicated platform that provides an opportunity to gain invaluable insight into leading edge industry-related technologies including social media and GDS.
For the second year running, Arabian Travel Market will once again host its own unique industry version of The Apprentice to uncover the best emerging regional talent.
Other regular features include the New Frontiers Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to tourism development in the face of overwhelming adversity, and the perennially popular industry Careers Day will wrap up the week. *image from private-guides.com