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Kuwaitis prioritize elections over travel during Eid Al Fitr holiday

•While international travel may have taken a backseat, the emphasis on civic engagement and the allure of pleasant weather have fueled a surge in domestic tourism, highlighting the diverse appeal of Kuwait’s own attractions.

•Chalets and local attractions see surge in bookings.

As the much-anticipated Eid Al Fitr holiday approaches, Kuwaitis are faced with a unique dilemma this year: balancing their travel aspirations with their civic duty to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections. While international travel bookings have witnessed a decline compared to previous years, local tourism has experienced a remarkable boost, with chalets, farms, and other domestic attractions reaching full capacity.

Elections take center stage

The confluence of the Eid Al Fitr holiday and the parliamentary elections, scheduled for April 4, has significantly impacted travel plans among Kuwaiti citizens. Many have opted to prioritize their civic engagement over overseas travel, underscoring the importance of democratic participation in the country.

“This year, we’ve noticed a noticeable decline in travel bookings for Eid Al Fitr compared to previous years,” stated Abdulrahman Al-Kharafi, a member of the Kuwait Union of Travel and Tourism Agents. “The focus has shifted towards participation in electoral activities, such as seminars and conferences, which has undoubtedly affected the travel plans of many Kuwaiti families.”

Al-Husseini Abdul Hamid, CEO of Boukhmeseen Aviation Group, acknowledges the decrease in reservations but notes that some segments remain unaffected, including expatriates and those who booked pre-election travel. He also identifies Turkey, Sharm el-Sheikh, and East Asian destinations as the top choices for those still traveling abroad.

Local tourism thrives

While international travel bookings have dipped, the surge in domestic tourism has more than compensated. Chalets, farms, and recreational areas across Kuwait are experiencing unprecedented demand, with many reaching full capacity. This phenomenon can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • Prioritizing elections: The emphasis on civic participation has encouraged many to remain within the country and engage in the electoral process.
  • Pleasant weather: Eid Al Fitr this year coincides with a period of pleasant weather, making outdoor activities and domestic getaways more appealing.
  • Economic considerations: The rising cost of travel and accommodation in popular international destinations has prompted some to reconsider their plans and explore local alternatives.

The impact of the elections on travel bookings has varied across different destinations. While some popular overseas locations have witnessed a decline in demand, others have remained relatively unaffected.

“Certain destinations, such as Cairo, Dubai, London, and Riyadh, have not been significantly impacted by the elections,” noted Ayman Zindan, Director of Alam Al-Salehiya Travel and Tourism Company. “These cities, with their ongoing festivals and tourism activities, continue to attract Gulf travelers.”

Ayman Zindan

Global appeal of London

London, in particular, has maintained its position as a top global destination for Kuwaiti travelers, with bookings remaining consistent despite the elections.

“London remains the most preferred international destination for Kuwaitis,” added Zindan. “Demand for travel to the UK remains strong and unaffected by external factors.”

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