Chimi Dema

The first Kuwaiti tourism delegation is in the country to explore opportunities of collaboration in tourism, media and information.

The Under Secretary with Ministry of Information Kuwait, Yousef M.A.A Hassan and the ministry’s director of media for Asia, Australia and Africa, Mazen A.Z.M Alansari have arrived on November 17. The delegation will discuss about signing a Memorandum of Understanding to promote tourism and ease visa restrictions.

Yousef M.A.A Hassan, said that he would like Bhutan’s tourism sector to receive a share of Kuwaiti visitors.

“Going by the international tourism organisation’s statistics, the expenditure on tourism alone in the first half of this year was USD 9.3 billion,” he said. “So it is quite large in per capita given that Kuwait has only about 1.3 million people and therefore, we would like Bhutan to receive at least some portions of this expense.”

To begin the collaboration, the embassy of Kuwait in Bhutan with support from Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) organised an event in Thimphu on November 20.

As the first Arab country to hold such an event in support of tourism, Yousef M.A.A Hassan said that he was happy to receive acceptance from Bhutan’s party and would assure to move forward the plans after returning to Kuwait.

Bhutan so far had received 84 Kuwaiti tourists since 2012 though none visited in 2013. This year, about 22 tourists visited the country.

TCB’s director general Dorji Dhradrul said that while the number looks insignificant, there is a substantial increase of Kuwaiti visiting over the years. “We are hopeful for more turnovers following such cooperation between the two nations.”

He highlighted the importance of high-value-low-volume tourism policy that the country has adopted since 1960s to guide specific regulations for the visitors.

“By this policy, it means offering travellers high value and exclusive experiences through bringing in numbers according to the carrying capacity of our nature, resources, infrastructure and services,” he added.

In an earlier interview with Kuensel, Dorji Dhradrul  said that the TCB secretariat is planning to work with the global media outlet like CNN to promote Bhutan as a tourist destination at the global level.

While within the country, TCB is working on improving and strengthening services and infrastructures like road site amenities, improving site management and quality of guides, among others.

The economic affair’s minister Loknath Sharma commended the initiative as a support that would help Bhutan achieve an ambitious vision of taking tourism to the top.

“We would be happy to receive more Kuwaiti tourists in the future and will also reciprocate by sending Bhutanese to Kuwait as two countries have different geography, culture and traditions,” Lyonpo added.

As a part of the event, a few ancient Islamic arts were on display and guests and visitors were served Kuwaiti coffee.

The Lonely Planet ranked Bhutan as the best country to visit in 2020 in its travel guide book, ‘Best in Travel 2020’ earlier this year.