Airlines are presently calling for the restarting of flights to Kuwait airport while maintaining health regulations similar to some neighboring Gulf countries. Due to Kuwait’s 34 country ban, expats are spending time in quarantine in countries not on the ban list, therefore reaping profits from the coronavirus. According to Abdul Rahman Al-Kharafi, a member of the Federation of Tourism and Travel Offices, revealed to Al-Qabas daily that Kuwait has endured losses to about KD100 million for failing to capitalize on quarantine procedures for arriving expats under the 34 country ban. Al-Kharafi pointed out that the number of returning expats is estimated at 160,000.

Kuwait lost out due to the coronavirus epidemic for its decisions to close the airport and prevent entry of arrivals from the banned countries directly into Kuwait unless they reside in an unauthorized “transit” country for a period of 14 days. This has allowed Dubai and other countries to take advantage of the situation by offering travelers “transit residence”, of which thousand passengers have benefited, Al Qabas daily reported.

Noting that Kuwait’s economic losses were heavy, Al-Kharafi, said to Al-Qabas daily that this was a consequence of the health decisions that prevented the entry of arrivals from 34 banned countries directly into Kuwait.

Pointing to the latest statistics, Al-Kharafi said the number of expats outside the country who want to return from the countries on the ban list is estimated at 160,000 expats, most of whom chose Dubai as a transit country for 14 days and then returned to Kuwait, explaining that the costs of tickets, hotel accommodation and transportation totaled KD600 per person.

Total losses

He revealed that the total losses that affected Kuwait as a result of ‘transit residence’ in other countries amounted to about KD100 million, including the costs to the aviation sector, tourism, hotels, restaurants, transportation and others, explaining that the decision of the health authorities caused an economic disaster and there must be a plan to restore economic activity in the country. Al-Kharafi indicated that the lost revenues to the travel and tourism offices sector only during the period from March 14 to July 31 was about KD28 million, while the lost revenues during the period from August 1 to the end of the year are expected to be about KD17.5 million, so that the total losses are about KD45 million dinars.

Al-Kharafi said that the economic studies were submitted at the request of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for details of the economic effects on the air transport sector in light of the repercussions of the emerging coronavirus epidemic, and a table of lost revenues during the current year.

As a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic and its preventative measures, the sector has been impacted with 30% of workers being laid off, while the costs incurred by the sector to cover expenses amounted to about KD32 million.

Lost revenues

Al-Kharafi mentioned that the expected revenues for the travel and tourism sector during the current year amount to about KD60 million dinars, including air tickets, hotel sales and airlines commission, but the crisis caused a loss of about KD45 million dinars.

Al-Kharafi indicated that the costs incurred to cover the expenses during the coronavirus pandemic amounted to KD32 million dinars, including monthly salaries for employees, rents, staff accommodations, landlines and the Internet, while the additional costs incurred to as part of the preventative measures to halt the coronavirus, such as sterilizers, thermal cameras and medical masks, amounted to about KD129 thousand dinars for each of the tourism and travel offices.


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