KUWAIT: Official statistics show that Kuwaitis’ spending on travel and tourism in 2015 reached nearly KD 3.7 billion, and includes items such as spending on university scholarships and treatment abroad (18 percent of the total). Informed sources said this is a record amount by all standards (nearly $12.2 billion), especially since it is repeated every year and has repercussions on the balance of payments in general. This spending has not regressed so far, despite the drop in oil prices since the second half of 2014.
Concerned sources said there is general squandering, especially on treatment abroad, apart from tourism spending, as average travel by a Kuwaiti is three to four times a year for various purposes. This “escape” is due to lack of entertainment venues domestically, while expenses on treatment abroad can build the most advanced hospitals in a few years.
About study scholarships abroad, the sources said it is on the increase because of capacity challenges of educational institutes in Kuwait, bearing in mind that there is no comprehensive strategy that accurately decides the need of the marketplace for graduates. Payments to scholarship students are generous compared to other GCC countries, reaching $900 million last year (KD 240 million). – Al-Qabas