TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How successful was 2017 for your organisation? What are your expectations for 2018?
DIDIER JARDIN: 2017 was an exceptional year for Four Seasons. As part of our plans to further expand our presence in the Middle East, we officially unveiled Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya on November 06, 2017 and it was our honour to be graced by the presence of H. H. Jaber Al-Mubarak Al- Hamad Al-Sabah, prime minister, Kuwait, during the inauguration ceremony.
Our hotel also represents a new era of Kuwaiti hospitality, as the country swiftly moves towards becoming a regional and financial hub by 2035, as outlined in the Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP).
This year, we aim to embrace the tourism boom and keep delivering on our Four Seasons promise. We are excited to showcase the destination in a new light through our hotel and invite guests to discover Kuwaiti culture, gastronomic delights, architecture, and a wide array of entertainment and attractions.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your main feeder markets and what are the reasons they choose Kuwait as a destination?
DIDIER JARDIN: Our main feeder market includes a mix of business and leisure travellers from the GCC region, the UK and a few European nations.
Kuwait is an emerging travel destination and expects more than 570,0000 international visitors by 2027. As a part of KNDP, the main airport is undergoing a USD4.3 billion expansion, which will allow it to accommodate up to 25 million passengers
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Why do you believe travellers should choose Kuwait for sea activities?
DIDIER JARDIN: Travellers to Kuwait will enjoy exploring the diverse range of sea activities like diving, snorkelling and kayaking owing to the warm and shallow waters of Kuwait Bay. Beginners and expert divers and snorkelers alike can look forward to enjoying diving in the islands of Kubar and Umm al-Maradim, which are home to several interesting ocean wildlife species, or in Donkey Reef.
Guests can also try Dive Caroline at Messilah Water Village or the five-star PADI at KIM Centre for diving and snorkelling trips to outer islands of Kubar and Umm al-Maradim. Those new to diving can even obtain certification from one of the several diving schools in Kuwait City. Those interested in kayaking can visit KIM Centre, which organises kayaking tours for beginners and experienced kayakers.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What do you think makes Kuwaiti culture stand out and why should travellers explore this aspect?
DIDIER JARDIN: There are many attractions in Kuwait City that offer visitors the chance to familiarise themselves with Kuwaiti culture.
To realise the true essence of Kuwait's culture, I ask travellers to visit The Grand Mosque, a destination for a truly memorable experience.
Visitors interested in Kuwait's history must also visit Tareq Rajab Museum of Islamic Arts, a private museum belonging to Tareq Sayed Rajab and his English wife, which displays 30,000 items collected over a period of 50 years. Here, you will find several interesting collections of artefacts from all over the Islamic world, Asia and the Far East.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What else can visitors experience in Kuwait if they visit for leisure purposes?
DIDIER JARDIN: Travellers from the Middle East and beyond have increasingly started making decisions on destinations based on the culinary experiences these places have to offer, particularly those focusing on unusual dishes and fresh combinations by up-and-coming chefs.
Kuwait's buzzing scene of local markets and must-visit restaurants is driving a movement by entrepreneurs to make Kuwait City the World's Food Capital by 2030, which in turn, is enticing foodies from far-and-wide to discover the country's vibrant gastronomic culture.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your future plans to attract more leisure tourists?
DIDIER JARDIN: In the future, we will continue to deliver to our guests an exquisite hotel experience that will keep bringing them back to Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya.
We pride ourselves on our unerring devotion to services that are attuned with guest needs and our passionate team is constantly pushing itself to surpass their expectations.
In addition to this, we plan on promoting the MICE segment, which we believe presents a huge opportunity for Kuwait's tourism industry.