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Kuwait launching major tourism projects despite expat dissatisfaction

For the seventh time in eight years, Kuwait has been ranked the worst destination for expats, coming in last place in the Expat Insider survey

Kuwait ranks last in the Quality of Life Index (59th) for expats 51% have trouble finding new friends Kuwait is focusing on the redevelopment of its tourism sector

For the seventh time in eight years, Kuwait has been ranked the worst destination for expats, coming in last place in the Expat Insider survey (59th out of 59 countries). In its report on Best and Worst Places for Expats 2021, a total of 59 countries around the world were listed to measure expats satisfaction in the countries they work outside their home countries.

Kuwait ranks last in the Quality of Life Index (59th), with especially poor results in the Leisure Options, Personal Happiness, and Travel and Transportation subcategories (59th for all).

Kuwait is also the worst expat destination worldwide in the Ease of Settling (59th), with 46% of expats not feeling at home while 45% find it difficult to settle down in the country.

Moreover, 51% have trouble finding new friends.

Under the Working Abroad Index, Kuwait performs poorly in both the Work & Leisure (58th) and the Career Prospects & Satisfaction (57th) subcategories. 31% are dissatisfied with their jobs in general and 34% are unhappy with their work-life balance.

In 2021, Taiwan, Mexico, and Costa Rica were the best expat destinations worldwide

In GCC countries the rankings were as the below:

12 Bahrain
17 Qatar
18 UAE
24 Oman
42 Saudi Arabia
59 Kuwait

The top 10 places for expats were:

  1. Taiwan
  2. Mexico
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Malaysia
  5. Portugal
  6. New Zealand
  7. Australia
  8. Ecuador
  9. Canada
  10. Vietnam

The worst 10 places for expats were:
59 Kuwait
58 Italy
57 South Africa
56 Russia
55 Egypt
54 Japan
53 Cyprus
52 Turkey
51 India
50 Malta

Tourism drive

Kuwait is focusing on the redevelopment of its tourism sector, as it announced a capital investment of $830 million through the Kuwait Investment Authority to facilitate the achievement of its tourism goals.

Following the announcement, the Tourism Enterprises Company (TEC) revealed the redevelopment plans for the country’s hospitality, leisure, and entertainment sector, in addition to plans to implement three major projects. It explained that the company, in line with New Kuwait 2035 vision, aims to repurpose, modernize and redevelop the existing tourism facilities in order to provide new world-class experiences for visitors. Hotel occupancy in Kuwait declined by 44% in Q3 2020, however, it recovered to a reduction of only 5% in Q3 2021.  

Image source for Kuwait statistics: MEED

Approximately 3,000 room keys of international brands joined the tourism facilities market in Manama, Muscat, Oman and Doha between Q3 2020 and Q3 2021. Muscat acquired the majority of the new offer in these markets with nearly 1,300 new keys.

Doha witnessed the largest recovery in terms of occupancy levels, which increased by 79% between 2020 and 2021 and is partly attributed to the easing of border restrictions between the GCC and Qatar.