Investment into the travel and tourism sector in Kuwait is forecasted to grow by 4.3 per cent per annum over the next decade through to 2025, with a total investment figure of US$ 1 billion.
Kuwait’s strategy for long-term tourism growth received a boost in 2015, with airport passenger volume growing from around ten million travellers in 2014 to just over 10.2 million last year as the Gulf state ploughs ahead with plans to expand its transportation infrastructure.
According to a World Travel & Tourism Council report entitled ‘Kuwait Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2015’, tourism accounted for 1.5 per cent of total GDP in 2015, and is set to rise by 0.3 per cent by 2025, although this is being revisited given the current low oil prices scenario.
This would take total GDP contribution to 1.8 per cent, or KWD1.6 billion in 2025.
The report also highlighted potential gains in leisure spend, which is expected to grow by 6.2 per cent per annum to KWD2.4 billion in 2025, while business travel is expected to grow by 5.6 per cent per annum to KWD457.3 million in 2025.
WTTC predictions put tourist arrivals at 440,000 by 2024 – up from 270,000 in 2014 – and increased capacity will be the catalyst for sector gains moving forward with leisure travel spending set to rise by 6.2 per cent per annum through to 2025, and business travel, which saw a dip in 2015, forecast to pick up in the next ten years with annual growth of 5.6 per cent.
Kuwait also has a high domestic travel spend component, which generated 88.1 per cent of direct tourism GDP in 2014, and is expected to increase by 6.4 per cent per annum through to 2025.
The country’s hotel pipeline is also adding new value to the tourism mix with an under-development collection of new luxury and more affordable accommodation options.
High-end brands such as Four Seasons, which will open its first 263-key Kuwait property at Burj Alshaya at the end of 2016, will be joined by the Mercure Kuwait (2017), Hilton Olympia Kuwait in 2019 and a Grand Hyatt in 2020.
It is also entering new mid-market territory with a number of upcoming projects including the 160-room Novotel Sharq (2017) and several Rotana properties, with a Centro Rotana set to debut in 2018 with 200 rooms.