Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

With ambitions to welcome 440,000 visitors a year by 2024, the government of Kuwait is pressing ahead with multiple plans that will see billions of dollars invested in projects and a further $1 billion budget earmarked to promote the Gulf state over the same period.

Plans are in place to establish a Supreme Commission for Tourism to initiate its tourism strategy as the country prepares to showcase at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2017, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre 24-27 April.

A number of mega-projects will share the multi-billion dollar development budget, including: Madinat Al Hareer and Silk City, a proposed mega-development in the country’s north; the expansion of Kuwait International Airport, reaching 25 million passenger per year capacity by 2025; and cultural attractions such as Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Islamic Centre.

Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “Kuwait is evolving into a multifaceted destination with many things to offer both corporate and leisure visitors. The government is making huge investments at a crucial time for the country’s development and, in channeling significant funds into tourism infrastructure, leisure developments and lifestyle destinations, in the long-term Kuwait is telling the world it’s very much open for business.”

According to figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel and tourism investment in Kuwait is set to rise 1.5% per annum over the next ten years to KWD135.6 million in 2027.

The latest Colliers International Kuwait Hospitality Market Snapshot, reports 70% of visitors arrived in Kuwait as corporate travelers in 2016, with the country’s leisure industry comprising only 6% of total arrivals - hotel performance declined 6% overall for the year as a result. Business spending also suffered losses, falling 2.4% over the course of the year.

Key hotel performance indicators showed slight declines in 2016 with ADR down 2.3%, RevPAR down 4.8% and occupancy down 2.6%.

Performance is forecast for strong recovery in 2017 with continued growth to 2026, reaching values of KWD501.3 million. Leisure travel spending is expected rise by 4.5% per annum to KWD1,939.1 million in 2026, following an annual growth rate of 8.7% in 2016.

Press said: “Kuwait is actively working to diversify its guest segmentation and that will be important to securing the projected levels of growth over the coming years. We expect to see a corresponding diversification in hotel stock as more leisure, health and wellness tourists discover the country’s unique offerings.”

This year, ATM will host a number of exhibitors from Kuwait, including the Ministry of Information – Tourism Sector, Holidays Arabia, Kuwait Hotel Owners Association, Kuwait Tourism and Services.

ATM - considered by many industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector – witnessed a year-on-year visitor attendance increase of 9% to over 28,500 in 2016, with 2,785 exhibiting companies, signing business deals worth more than US$ 2.5 billion over four days.

ATM 2017 will build on its success with the announcement of an additional hall as Reed Travel Exhibitions looks to add to its record-breaking achievements of 2016.

Birmingham Airport joins UK Airports Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester airports by implementing BlipTrack queue management technology from BLIP Systems. The sensor-based solution helps the airport to improve resource planning and to ease travelers minds with accurate line wait times.

With more than 11 million passengers in 2016, the busiest year in the airports history, Birmingham Airport realised that they needed a solution to accurately measure queues and predict wait times. After reviewing several systems, the airport enlisted the expertise of software specialists Gentrack to implement the sensor-agnostic BlipTrack solution.

Birmingham Airport engaged with BLIP Systems, following a competitive tender process. During the evaluation of technological solutions, we met with a number of existing BLIP Systems´ customers, who had implemented BlipTrack in similar successful projects”, says Chris Wilson, Head of Terminal Operations at Birmingham.

Operationally, the airport uses, among other things, the data to monitor line density in real-time, which allows management to respond promptly and effectively to irregular operations and disruptions, such as opening additional lines. It enables the airport to comply with service-level agreements, and to evaluate and challenge key performance indicators with great accuracy. In addition, the live wait time information is shared with passengers on screens, to improve the travel experience, with hopefully more satisfied and recurring passengers as a result.

“The solution is used at the north immigration hall to measure and predict the wait time at the UK Border. The data really helps to understand the actual wait time for the border, and helps discussion with the UKBF (United Kingdom Border Force) planning team and resourcing plans for the future. By sharing the information on screens, we help reduce passenger frustration by creating realistic wait time expectations. It makes the passengers feel more relaxed and helps them to better plan the final elements of their journey as well as onward travel,” continues Chris Wilson.

“Today, many airports display wait times to their passengers. Typically, this is done by measuring dwell times of people leaving the line. However, these “historic” times may not be accurate for those entering the line, especially if the number of people suddenly changes or more lines open up. BlipTrack combines and analyses both the number of people in line and the average throughput of the area. With these two measurements, accurate wait times can be displayed,” explains Christian Bugislaus Carstens, Marketing Manager at BLIP Systems.

The solution works by placing dedicated Bluetooth/WiFi sensors. The sensors detect mobiles devices, such as smartphones and tablets. By identifying the devices at multiple sensors, specific and accurate statistical information, such as travel times, dwell times and movement patterns become available, without interaction from the travellers.

“It´s been an excellent project with great support from the design, installation and technical team. The BLIP Systems´ team are a credit to the organisation and have helped the airport immensely, with data analysis and reporting. Moving forward, we have plans to continue the project to incorporate other areas, such as the southbound security and immigration,” ends Chris Wilson.

Internationally, more than 25 international airports use the technology, including Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, JFK Airport in New York, Copenhagen, Dublin, Oslo, Geneva, Brussels, Cincinnati and Auckland. BlipTrack is also implemented in optimization efforts in road traffic in Portsmouth, Bangkok, Zürich and Stockholm. In recent years, the solution has been rolled out in train stations, ports, ski resorts, amusement parks, and at events all over the world.

With spring in the air and the long Easter weekend just around the corner, and as the days get warmer and the evenings lighter, sleep under the stars in a safari style canvas tent close to Brecon Beacons National Park, on the Welsh/English border.

This two bed tent sleeps four comfortably with room for two dogs; as well as offering a spacious living room and kitchenette with all the necessary amenities.

This fisherman's cottage, in the heart of popular sea-side town Whitstable, is just a moment's walk from the pebbled sea front.  The three bed cottage has a decked garden with a BBQ and Summerhouse which makes an ideal playroom for young children. Vintage shops, cafés and an abundance of art galleries means there's lots to do come rain or shine.

In the pretty English village of Wittersham, inland from the coastal town of Rye, Prospect Cottage is a lovingly converted barn full of character, with exposed beams and two guest rooms nestled in the eaves. Located a stone's throw from Hope Farm, guests of the cottage can attend the annual local Young Farmer's lambing day on Easter Sunday.*

For an Easter holiday packed with family-friendly activities, outdoor adventures in the fresh sea air, and a spot of culture, the Channel Islands Heritage Festival kicks off on 8 April, just in time for when the schools break up. Running throughout the Easter holidays until 10 May, this year's festival takes a 'Heroes, Myths and Legends' theme, celebrating the history of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm, and looking at the tales that have drawn visitors to their shores for centuries. At just a short flight or ferry ride from the mainland, there's plenty to entertain visitors of all ages as they hop around the islands.

Enjoy a themed spring break in the colorful Czech Republic’s capital city of Prague as the Bohemian city morphs into Easter Central.

At the heart of the activities are the city’s famous Easter markets. Between April 1 and 23, Prague’s annual Easter markets fill three of the city’s main squares: Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and the Square of the Republic.

In Old Town Square, more than 90 wooden huts offer traditional Czech products, including beautifully decorated Easter eggs, wooden toys and puppets, lace, Easter decorations, glassware and jewelry. Others show how traditional foods are made while large hams are roasted on spits, sausages are barbecued, and cakes and pastries prepared. Plus, of course, there will be huts selling bottles of Pilsner and Budvar Czech beer.

The Easter cultural program that runs alongside includes music and dance performances, demonstrations of arts and crafts and children’s workshops.

After a day browsing the markets, guests can languish in the luxurious accommodation at the five-star Corinthia Hotel Prague, which has made the trip easier by offering a spring package for Easter adventurers.

Corinthia Hotel Prague guests will be welcomed with the traditional chocolate Easter eggs and a bottle of sparkling wine.

With the warmer weather on its way, now is the time to start thinking about a weekend trip in spring. The Tarn is a relatively undiscovered department in south-west France with an average spring temperature of 16°c – a perfect temperature for exploring the countryside. The area is home to a dramatic and varied landscape including expansive vineyards, rolling sunflower fields, beautiful hilltop villages, the winding Tarn River and the Aveyron gorges.