Kuwait hoteliers object to VIP-only hotels plan

Kuwait hotel owners said occupancy levels were already as low as 51%


Kuwait hotel operators are up in arms over plans to develop a series of luxury VIP-only hotels, claiming the hotel sector is already suffering from low occupancy levels and the market cannot absorb an increase in supply, it was reported on Tuesday.

The Kuwait Municipality has put forward a proposal to develop a series of luxury hotels aimed at VIP guests arriving in the Gulf state. Working in conjunction with the private sector, the authorities are aiming to locate the so called ‘seven-star’ properties at the Fair Ground, Al-Salam Palace, Sabah Al-Salem University and Kuwait Airport.

The plan has been met with opposition from the Kuwait Hotel Owners Association (KHOA), which claimed levels were already low and the arrival of such properties would impact those already operating in the market.

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Ghazi Al-Nafisi, chairman of the KHOA told the Kuwait Times around ten new hotels are due to be built in Kuwait in the next three years, increasing the total number of rooms by nearly a third to around 10,000.

He claimed hotel occupancy was already around 51 percent and the introduction of new properties could see levels drop to a low of 40 percent.

“Kuwait is not a tourist country, and most visitors are coming to attend different conferences or on business trips,” Lana Al-Resheed, Senior Sales Manager of The Convention Center and Royal Suites, was quoted as saying.

“I expect that the proposed new 7-star hotel will be expensive, so the guests will leave it to stay in other hotels, and this hotel will later have to decrease its prices, and it will take our customers again,” she added.

“Any new hotel coming to the market will definitely affect the existing hotels, as we are in a small country with little demand… I think that the planned hotels, which will be launched soon, deserve to be better promoted,” said Wassim Mahdi, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Radisson Blu Hotel

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