Kuwait's master plan to woo tourists
Kuwait has been actively promoting itself as a tourist destination over the last couple of years.But exactly how did the small, though wealthy country, go about promoting itself to the world. "After the participation in the ITB - Berlin 2002, ATM Dubai 2002 and various other exhibitions in the Gulf, Middle East and Far East, the rate of tourism to Kuwait has increased when compared to 2001," says Mohamed A Najia, executive director of the Kuwait Tourism Services. Najia says that during 2002, Kuwait heavily promoted tourism packages to Kuwait aimed at both the Gulf market as well as the European and Far East markets. He said that with the electronic visa facility in the country's five-star hotels and Kuwait Airways' offices worldwide, it made visiting Kuwait so much easier. "In general," says Najia, "the outcome of the business trend for 2002 was very good." Kuwait's newly-established tourism sector, which is managed by the Ministry of Information, will play a major role in developing infrastructure for tourist sites and other projects. Nabila Al-Anjari has been appointed as the Assistant Under-Secretary for Tourism in Kuwait. The sector has started the process of unveiling a Tourism Masterplan for Kuwait, a plan that targets the GCC region first and then the Middle East. The plan also hopes to reach the European markets with the aim of creating awareness that Kuwait is a land of friendship and beautiful one at that. "Kuwait," says Najia, "is a very secure destination and the government is taking strict measures to see that the visitors and residents are secure at all times." Najia also sees an emerging trend in Kuwait where a large number of tourists from the rest of the Gulf arrive in Kuwait on weekends. As for 2003, Kuwait has its roster full. In February the country will host the annual tourist festival 'Hala February 2003' which will consist of various events, tournaments, shopping discounts and live concerts. Next year will also feature numerous holiday and summer promotions combined with hotel accommodation, sightseeing tours and Kuwait Airways tickets. In addition to this, many projects will be completed by 2003, which Najia is sure will lure visitors from around the world.