Kuwait marching on

British and American troops amass on the Iraqi border, but Kuwait forges ahead with tourism development.

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By  John Irish Published  March 18, 2003

Kuwait’s council of ministers agreed on March 05 to a proposal for the emirate to join the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) in a bid to develop a comprehensive tourism structure. Kuwait’s membership increases the international organisation’s membership to 141.

This latest venture follows the establishment of the Kuwait Tourism Affairs Sector (KTAS) within the Ministry of Information to administer the development of tourism within the state.

The WTO is currently assisting the Kuwaiti government in preparing a long-term framework for the sustainable growth of tourism. The plan aims to strengthen and develop the KTAS as an effective tourism apparatus, help the emirate identify potential tourism markets, establish a wholesale marketing and promotion strategy for the industry and to ascertain the training needs for both the public and private sectors.

Kuwait’s tourism drive was given a further boost in February when plans for a new airport solely for the use of state-owned Kuwait Airways were announced.

“Kuwait has plans to build a multimillion dollar airport terminal, concourse and other facilities next to the current one, that will be dedicated to the country’s flag carrier, Kuwait Airways,” said Hussain Jaafer Al Sayegh, managing director, United Projects Company (UPC), which is currently responsible for airport handling at the existing Kuwait International Airport.

“The present airport has a capacity of five million passengers per annum and the government is working to increase it to eight million in a few years’time,” he added

The project estimated to be worth US $460 million is scheduled for completion in 2015.

The emirate’s accession to the WTO follows in the footsteps of its Gulf neighbours, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who all joined in 2002.The interest shown by GCC nations has led to the WTO introducing Arabic into its activities and intensifying its efforts to promote tourism within the region.

The WTO Commission is scheduled to hold its next summit for the Middle East in Manama, Bahrain from April 28-30.

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