Today's news story, "Government eyes tourism as new source of income: Minister."
(Read the full story here because I'm too bored to re-print it.)
In 2004 [yes, that's right - 2004. As in TWELVE (12) years ago], Kuwait announced its 20-year plan for ... what?... TOURISM. (Read about that here.)
And again in 2010 it was talked about. (Read about that one here.)
Kuwait is GREAT at planning. And talking. And discussing. And arguing. And procrastinating. It's not so great at what?.... TOURISM.
For one thing, during my multiple trips around the block in Kuwait, I have come across only 2 tour companies of legitimate quality. I only recommend one, and it is a small, non-governmental group of private Kuwaiti citizens who actually use their own private funds to buy little souvenir gifts for special customers. (They go by "Naronda or Morqab Tours. 6009-0364. See my blog post about them HERE.)
For the next issue: Kuwait needs to take a much closer look at its infrastructure FIRST. Just last month, they didn't want to let people over 50 into Kuwait. That is kinda sucky for tourism, isn't it? And official hotel packages have not been offered/allowed to SINGLE women in the past. Many nationalities aren't allowed in Kuwait. Can the airport accommodate tourism?
And I sincerely do not mean any disrespect to those who want to resurrect the concept of tourism to Kuwait. I applaud them. I wish there were a lot more of them. I just wish they would get it all going; like, ten years ago.
What Kuwait needs are people who are passionate about it's history and heritage. (I am and I'm not even Kuwaiti!) I wish a committee would go to Qatar and see what they have done with the Msheireb Museum.
I really wish that Kuwait would start collecting oral histories from elder Kuwaitis to get a feel of how Kuwait used to be. I talk to these people. They recount the days of pearling and dhow building and getting water from wells (and I'm talking recent history - like 60 years ago). THAT is the kind of talk Kuwait needs. Teach the younger generations - and teach expats what Kuwait truly is; not just shopping malls and driving around in flashy cars. Tell the grandparents' stories. Who are your people? Where are you from? What makes this country unique? What's your color, Kuwait? (Shloanik, Kuwait?)
Even the long-time expats in Kuwait are still discovering the country - and getting very little help doing it unless you are out there exploring yourself. It's hard. I wish the Government would really help people get to know the country they're living in (and in a language, perhaps, that they can understand?) A lot of us don't hear about what is going on in Kuwait until it's over because of poor advertising or advertising only in Arabic.
Where is Kuwait's visitors center? Website? Why isn't there one? Why don't they have brochures of local activities? Gee....
I could go on and on.