Information Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah
Information Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah

KUWAIT: The government is keen to promote Kuwait’s tourism sector and developing it as a way to diversify sources of income and create more opportunities for young people, a senior official said yesterday.

During a speech at the opening ceremony, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah made those statements at the inauguration of a conference on tourism titled ‘Tourism and Development: Reality and Outlook’ which kicked off at JW Marriott Hotel yesterday. The event, held under the motto ‘Tourism is a need and a purpose,’ is organized by the Information Ministry’s Tourism Sector and Leaders Group for Consulting and Development.

Tourism strategy
The information ministry’s tourism sector plans to activate the tourism field’s role as well as form the ‘Supreme Commission for Tourism’ in order to put Kuwait’s tourism strategy into practice, the minister said.

“This strategy includes participation from the private sectors, and aimes to promote and develop new sources of national income other than the traditional methods that are based on oil,” he added.

According to the minister, developing the tourism sector’s infrastructure is required to achieve the vision of transforming Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub. “In 2013, a state body was set-up to encourage direct investment in order to improve the overall investment environment, enhance competitiveness and expand participation opportunities,” the minister said. “It also contributes to the implementation of the goals of economic and social policies of the country.”

Vital projects
Minister Sheikh Salman further indicated that the Kuwaiti government has already started implementing many vital projects in that regard. It also showed interest in diverse cultural activities undertaken by the Ministry of Information’s tourism sector and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL). “[This] will have a significant impact on the direct development of the tourism sector in line with the national strategy for tourism,” the minister said, adding that it would also help achieve the strategy’s objectives of creating job opportunities and playing a role in diversifying sources of income sources.

Sheikh Salman Al-Hamoud said meanwhile that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has many tourism potentials, including the bases to become a global touristic destination with its historical, archeological, and cultural legacy. He pointed out the necessity of activating cooperation and partnership with the private sector and the development of human resources in the GCC region.

International factors
Nabila Al-Anjari, President of the Organizing Committee of the conference and General Manager of Leaders Group for Consulting and Development, said meanwhile that “international factors emerging in the field of oil and energy sources require efforts to move towards the process of mobilization of tourism in Kuwait.” She further highlighted the importance of tourism development on the economic level and to serve the country’s developmental ambitions.

“Tourism is a strategic option to achieve several national goals economically, financially and developmentally, not to mention the importance of tourism and the entertainment industry as an outlet for the social, cultural and local sectors,” she underlined.

Leading experiences
Anjari further stressed that the conference aims to take advantage of some of the leading touristic experiences and find out how to link between tourism development plans. She noted that the advancement of this sector locally has become an urgent necessity, especially since most countries worldwide adopt tourism as an integral part of their national economies.

“Kuwait must take advantage of the country’s investment capabilities that exceed $300 million, and employ them to make Kuwait an attractive touristic destination and to develop the important national vision for the tourism industry in the country,” She said.

Participants at the two-day conference will present research papers about their visions and suggestions on organizational, legislative and procedural topics relate to the theme of tourism and development. Proposals presented on that regard will be the focus of discussion by experts and specialists during the sessions.