Cairo: The global COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions have taken a heavy toll on travel firms in Kuwait, with losses estimated at over KD100 million, a Kuwaiti unionist has said.
Around 200 travel offices have been closed and 90 per cent of employees have been laid off due to inability to pay them as a result of the sluggish business, Abdul Rahman Al Kharafi, a member of the Union of Tourism and Travel Offices, added.
“Most of these offices employ only one worker, who handles all booking and accounting business and other affairs,” he told Kuwaiti newspaper Al Anba.
To help bring the travel industry back to normal, he proposed ending domestic isolation for those who have been vaccinated. “It is illogical to quarantine at home for almost one week the vaccinated arrivals in Kuwait,” he said.
“It is also necessary to allow the entry into the country of expatriates who have valid residency permits and have already got the vaccination,” Al Kharafi added.
Since last February, Kuwait has enforced a ban on foreigners’ entry as part of efforts to curb to a spike in COVID-19 infections in the country.
Starting from February 21, Kuwait introduced mandatory seven-day hotel quarantine to all passengers arriving in Kuwait at their expense. Upon the end of the institutional quarantine period, passengers will have to undergo domestic quarantine for seven more days.
In yet another measure, Kuwait last month suspended all commercial flights with India until further notice, over a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases there.
The ban applies to passengers directly coming from India or through a third country unless they have stayed for at least 14 days outside India.
Indians in Kuwait are almost 1 million, being one of the largest foreign communities in the Gulf country
Exempted from the ban, which went into effect on April 24, are Kuwaiti citizens, their first-degree relatives (husband, wife and children) and accompanying domestic workers.