Kuwait is surging its travel industry with new visa-free policy for 51 countries, including Schengen nations, Bahrain, and Oman


Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Citizens from various countries can enjoy visiting Kuwait without the hassle of obtaining a visa, making it an attractive destination for business travel, corporate travel, and leisure travel. This streamlined entry process is particularly beneficial for holidaymakers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries—such as Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE—who can travel freely to Kuwait due to regional agreements. Additionally, nationals from Schengen Area countries, including Austria, France, and Germany, as well as non-Schengen EU members like Bulgaria and Cyprus, can enter Kuwait using an eVisa or obtaining a visa on arrival. This visa facilitation also extends to visitors from countries like the United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia, who can seamlessly engage in both business and leisure activities in Kuwait. These relaxed visa policies support a robust influx of travelers, enhancing the country’s appeal as a hub for both short-term holidays and longer business engagements.

TTW Editor in Chief Mr. Anup Kumar Keshan said: “The implementation of Kuwait visa-free policy for 51 countries, including Schengen nations, has been a transformative force for the tourism sector. This strategic move has not only simplified the entry process for millions but has also broadened our appeal across diverse travel sectors. Additionally, this policy has invigorated niche travel markets, such as culinary tourism, adventure travel, and wellness retreats, enriching the travel experience and fostering significant economic growth and cultural exchange.”

In 2021, Kuwait saw approximately three million international tourist arrivals, marking a modest increase from the previous year. This uptick comes after a significant peak in 2019, when the country welcomed 8.6 million international visitors, the highest recorded number to date.

1. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries

Citizens from these countries can enter Kuwait without a visa due to regional agreements:

  1. Bahrain
  2. Oman
  3. Qatar
  4. Saudi Arabia
  5. United Arab Emirates

2. Schengen Area Countries

Nationals from the following Schengen Area countries can obtain a visa on arrival or eVisa, which simplifies the entry process to Kuwait:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Denmark
  5. Estonia
  6. Finland
  7. France
  8. Germany
  9. Greece
  10. Hungary
  11. Iceland
  12. Italy
  13. Latvia
  14. Lithuania
  15. Luxembourg
  16. Malta
  17. Netherlands
  18. Norway
  19. Poland
  20. Portugal
  21. Slovakia
  22. Slovenia
  23. Spain
  24. Sweden
  25. Switzerland

3. European Union Non-Schengen Countries

Citizens from these EU countries not part of the Schengen Area can enter Kuwait with an eVisa or visa on arrival:

  1. Bulgaria
  2. Croatia
  3. Cyprus
  4. Romania

4. Americas

These countries from the Americas are eligible for Kuwait’s eVisa or visa on arrival:

  1. Canada
  2. United States

5. Asia-Pacific

Travelers from these Asia-Pacific nations can enter Kuwait with an eVisa or visa on arrival:

  1. Australia
  2. Brunei
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Japan
  5. Malaysia
  6. New Zealand
  7. Singapore
  8. South Korea

6. Other European Countries

Citizens from these additional European countries can benefit from visa on arrival or eVisa options when traveling to Kuwait:

  1. Georgia
  2. Ireland
  3. Monaco
  4. San Marino
  5. Ukraine
  6. United Kingdom

7. Africa

Countries in this category include:

  1. Mauritius

Special Cases

  • GCC Resident Permit Holders: Expatriates residing in GCC countries who hold a valid residency permit for at least six months can apply for an eVisa, provided they meet other conditions such as holding a valid passport and not being on the prohibited list.
  • Transit and Special Arrangements: Some travelers in transit or those visiting on special business or diplomatic missions may be granted entry without a visa under specific agreements or arrangements.

Business Travel in Kuwait

Why Kuwait is a Business Hub

Kuwait is renowned for its substantial oil reserves and a diversified economy that extends beyond petroleum. The country’s strategic location at the crossroads of international trade routes makes it a key player in the global market. Here’s why Kuwait is a hotspot for business travel:

  • Economic Growth: Kuwait boasts one of the highest per capita incomes globally and is continuously investing in infrastructure and modernization projects, including the ambitious Kuwait Vision 2035 which aims to transform the country into a financial and commercial hub.
  • Business-Friendly Environment: The government offers various incentives to attract foreign investment, including favorable tax laws and regulatory frameworks.
  • Strategic Location: Positioned in the Persian Gulf, Kuwait serves as a gateway to markets in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, making it an ideal base for regional business operations.

Corporate Travel Benefits for Eligible Countries

Business travelers from visa-free countries such as the GCC nations, Schengen Area, and several others can benefit immensely from streamlined entry processes. This ease of access allows companies from these regions to engage more fluidly with Kuwait’s burgeoning markets.

Events and Convention Centers in Kuwait

Kuwait’s events industry is growing rapidly, supported by world-class convention centers and facilities designed to host international conferences, exhibitions, and trade shows:

  • Kuwait International Fair (KIF): Located in Mishref, it is the largest exhibition venue in Kuwait, hosting numerous international trade shows and events annually.
    • Distance from Kuwait City: Approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles), a 25-minute drive.
  • Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre (JACC): This is a premier venue for cultural events, performances, and corporate functions, featuring state-of-the-art facilities.
    • Distance from Kuwait International Airport: About 20 kilometers (12 miles), a 20-minute drive.

Hotels and Hospitality in Kuwait

Kuwait offers a range of accommodation options catering to business travelers, from luxury hotels to more budget-friendly choices:

Top Hotels in Kuwait

  1. Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya: A luxurious 5-star hotel offering exceptional service and amenities suitable for both leisure and business travelers.
    • Location: Central Kuwait City.
  2. Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa: This 5-star beachfront hotel provides a relaxing environment with comprehensive business facilities.
  3. The Regency Hotel Kuwait: Known for its elegance and conference facilities, it is a top choice for business travelers.
  4. Holiday Inn Kuwait Al Thuraya City: Offering a blend of comfort and convenience, this hotel is ideal for budget-conscious business travelers.

Top Airlines and Airports in Kuwait

Kuwait is served by a well-connected airport and top airlines that facilitate international travel:

Kuwait International Airport (KWI)

  • Overview: The main gateway to Kuwait, offering connections to numerous global destinations. It is undergoing expansion to accommodate increasing passenger traffic and enhance services.

Top Airlines Serving Kuwait

  1. Kuwait Airways: The national carrier, providing extensive international routes and a high standard of service.
  2. Jazeera Airways: A leading low-cost carrier offering flights to various regional and international destinations.

Transport in Kuwait

Railway Services

Kuwait currently does not have a domestic railway network. However, plans are underway for a Kuwait National Rail Road (KNRR) project to connect key areas within the country and link Kuwait to neighboring GCC states as part of the GCC Railway Network.

Business Growth and Tourism Statistics

Kuwait’s business landscape is thriving, driven by substantial government investments and a robust private sector. The country is steadily recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic, with significant growth in sectors like construction, finance, and retail.

International Tourist Arrivals

In recent years, Kuwait has seen fluctuations in international tourist arrivals. According to the latest data:

  • 2021: Kuwait welcomed approximately 273,000 international tourists, a recovery from the previous year’s figures affected by the global pandemic.

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