The Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Federation of Kuwaiti Travel and Tourism Agencies, Muhammad Al-Mutairi, called on the government to take effective and realistic measures to lift restrictions on movement through Kuwait Airport in a manner that is commensurate with the number of arrivals to the country which may reach 2 million citizens and expats, Al Rai daily.
Stressing that not allowing for easier travel for arrivals who are vaccinated is a missed opportunity, Al-Mutairi added that the airport is unable to make travel arrangements for about 1.2 million passengers every month, which also reflects a loss for the tourism, travel and aviation sectors. He noted that this figure is based on the number of passengers through Kuwait Airport recorded earlier before Coronavirus and the passenger traffic census that amounted to 15.5 million passengers in 2019. He added that a large number of people are not benefiting from their vaccinations by being allowed to freely travel through the airport.
He stated that the airport suffers lost revenues of up to KD193 million per month from ticket sales only, in addition to lost revenues to the state from aircraft services, ground services and fees for arrivals and departures.
Al-Mutairi emphasized that the Kuwait authorities are still pursuing a policy of “reluctance to make decisions”, and are avoiding a hands-on crisis management approach by reducing restrictions on the vaccinated.
He remarked it is time for the government to start providing facilities to those who are vaccinated and stop the bleeding of corporate and state losses through lost revenues on both sides.
In turn, a member of the board of directors, head of the media committee of the Federation of Tourism and Travel Agencies, Hussein Al-Sulaitin, said that with the increase in the number of those vaccinated and their arrival to about 2 million amid continuing efforts of the vaccination campaign for the rest of the population, it has become an obligation for the health authorities and civil aviation authorities to raise the operational capacity of Kuwait Airport to 75%, with the provision of appropriate facilities for those who received two vaccine doses.
Al-Sulaiteen mentioned that the goal of receiving the vaccine is to achieve community immunity, which will reach 50 percent as the campaign inches towards the goal of 2 million vaccinated, not to mention that this percentage increases on a daily basis, which means that every time the state is late in providing facilities for vaccinated travelers, it is a missed opportunity. He noted there has been no adequate compensation for sectors that have been bleeding for more than a year and can no longer continue to stay afloat.
Al-Sulaiteen stressed that the call for allowing travel does not mean abandoning health security, but rather aims for the national economy to receive an appropriate boost as a whole by ensuring the citizens and expats who are vaccinated receive benefits.
Among the requirements discussed in his proposal, Al-Sulaiteen stressed the need for procedures that permit those who received two vaccine doses to be allowed to travel by facilitating the conditions for their entry into Kuwait and canceling the costs of the PCR tests.
He also called for speedy travel bridges between Kuwait and other countries through streamlined procedures by making a list of those vaccinated outside the country, so that they can be included in the vaccinated list, which will enable them to travel taking advantage of specified facilities.