According to official data obtained from Kuwait’s Central Bank and reported by Al-Anbaa, Kuwaitis’ spending on tourism and travel abroad has experienced a notable increase of 12.4% during the first nine months of the current year. This surge in spending has reached approximately 390 million dinars, bringing the total expenditure to 3.53 billion dinars from January to September 2023. In comparison, the spending during the same period last year was 3.14 billion dinars.
The data reveals that Kuwaitis’ expenditure on tourism and travel experienced growth in the third quarter, particularly during the summer months when travel activity is typically high. In the third quarter alone, the total spending amounted to about 1.15 billion dinars, surpassing the one billion dinars spent in the second quarter.
During the first quarter, citizens’ total spending on travel reached approximately 1.3 billion dinars, indicating an average monthly expenditure of around 392 million dinars. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the strict precautionary measures implemented by Kuwait, this year’s spending on tourism and travel by Kuwaitis is the highest in recent years.
The suspension of air traffic due to the pandemic forced many citizens to stay in Kuwait, resulting in pent-up demand for travel once restrictions eased. This increased desire to explore the world and experience new destinations has contributed to the surge in spending on tourism and travel.
Conversely, remittances from expatriate workers abroad have seen a significant decline of around 30%, amounting to 1.26 billion dinars during the same January to September period. The total remittances this year reached 2.97 billion dinars, compared to approximately 4.23 billion dinars during the same period in 2022. Expatriate transfers have continuously and noticeably decreased throughout the year.
In the first quarter, transfers amounted to approximately 1.22 billion dinars before witnessing a 27% decline in the second quarter to 892.1 million dinars. Although the pace of decline slowed in the third quarter, remittances still dropped to 867.7 million dinars. These quarterly declines in expatriate transfers indicate an average transfer of around 993 million dinars every three months in 2023, translating to a monthly average of 330 million dinars.
In comparison, the average quarterly transfers in the previous fiscal year amounted to 1.4 billion dinars, with a monthly average of 470 million dinars. This decline in remittances can be attributed to various factors, including the impact of the pandemic on global employment opportunities and the economic conditions in the countries where expatriates are working.
The contrast between the increase in Kuwaitis’ spending on tourism and travel and the decline in expatriate remittances highlights the shift in priorities and financial dynamics within the country. Kuwaitis are choosing to allocate more of their resources towards exploring the world and creating memorable travel experiences.
In conclusion, Kuwaitis’ spending on tourism and travel abroad has witnessed a significant increase, reaching 3.53 billion dinars from January to September 2023. This surge in spending can be attributed to the pent-up demand for travel following the suspension of air traffic during the pandemic. On the other hand, expatriate remittances have experienced a noticeable decline, reflecting the challenging global employment landscape. These trends in spending and remittances provide valuable insights into the shifting dynamics of Kuwait’s economy and the priorities of its citizens.