Kuwaitis invest $37 bln abroad in 2012.

Kuwaiti investors have invested $37 billion outside Kuwait in 2012 including $7 billion spent on touristic projects, the Leaders Group stated in its second monthly tourism report that was made available to the press yesterday. General Manager Nabila Al-Anjari said that this month’s report sheds light on “the terrible situation” of Kuwait’s tourism sector every summer when people mostly travel for vacation while nearby countries prepare to welcome visitors every year.

The report starts by holding the government responsible for failing to promote proper touristic projects that attract tourists to Kuwait which continues to fall down the ladder for the best touristic destination in the Arabian Gulf region. The report cites lack of marketing and organized tours, lack of lands allocated for tourism activities as well as high prices of lands that deter investors as the main reasons that make Kuwait unappealing to tourists despite having qualifications that could make the situation different.

The report notes that the majority of investors in Kuwait (individuals and companies) headed outside looking for more profitable destinations in the short and long terms. “The volume of Kuwaiti investments outside in 2012 reached nearly $37 billion, distributed mostly in America and Europe, while $7 billion of these funds were used in the touristic sector,” the report reads.

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On the other hand, only $398 million was invested in Kuwait last year “which is a clear indication that Kuwait’s environment remains repellant to investment”, according to the report. It further indicated that the private sector’s investment locally remain ‘sub-par’, adding that between 50 and 80 percent of investments that major investment and real estate companies made last year were done abroad.

Kuwait’s share of investments coming to the Arab World reaches only 1 percent, while Kuwait ranks on top of the Arab list in investments abroad. Kuwait’s share of foreign investments in Arab countries reach 35 percent. Lack of governmental initiatives in the touristic sector is mentioned in the report as a factor that led major investors in Kuwait to look for more profitable alternatives outside.

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The report also points out complications in projects’ licensing and the consequential losses in Kuwait, compared to facilitations that governments in UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are giving to investors. This, in addition to a buy-operate-transfer law that does not include incentives to foreign money, is mentioned in the report as some of the reasons why Kuwait has failed to develop any of its islands while regional countries have created artificial islands off their shores.The report concludes by asking the government to create a strong infrastructure that attracts local and foreign in

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