February 14, 2021 finance & economytourism

For Kuwait hotels, institutional quarantine welcome respite


KUWAIT: After deciding to impose institutional quarantine for all passengers arriving to Kuwait from Feb 21, Kuwait Hotel Owners Association (KHOA) announced the prices for each hotel category. The rates were set as a package for six nights and seven days. For three-star hotels, the room rate will be KD 20 per night for a standard single room and KD 30 for a double room with breakfast and airport transfer. So the package will cost KD 120 for a single room and KD 180 for a double room, while the meal rate (lunch or dinner) will be KD 6.

For four-star hotels, the room rate will be KD 30 per night for a standard single room and KD 40 for a double room with breakfast and airport transfer. So the package will cost KD 180 for a single room and KD 240 for a double room, while the meal rate (lunch or dinner) will be KD 8. For five-star hotels, the room rate will be KD 45 per night for a standard single room and KD 55 for a double room with breakfast and airport transfer. So the package will cost KD 270 for a single room and KD 330 for a double room, while the meal rate (lunch or dinner) will be KD 10.

Kuwait Times spoke with officials of five-star, four-star and three-star hotels to gauge their reactions to this decision. Wassim Mahdi, Director-Business Development Corporate Accounts of Safir Hotels and Resorts, welcomed this decision for hotels in this difficult time of the coronavirus pandemic. “All businesses were hit by the pandemic, and hotels were one of the most affected. We really needed this initiative to slightly get back to normal after the great losses we are facing since almost a year. I think that the prices of the packages are suitable,” he told Kuwait Times.

KHOA will hold a meeting with hotel representatives tomorrow to discuss security and other issues in detail. “We still haven’t discussed the organization of guests at the hotel, but this will be clear after the meeting with KHOA. The hotel has three buildings, so maybe we will set one or more buildings for the quarantine. Or maybe we can designate some floors for the quarantine,” added Mahdi.

Hakan Gencer, General Manager of Swiss-Belboutique Hotel, also welcomed this decision, noting that under the current circumstances, this is an important step. “Our current occupancy rate is only between 15 to 20 percent. Our sector has been suffering for over a year, and I think this is a great opportunity for hotels. Even if we don’t receive the usual room rate, it’s still better than nothing,” he pointed out.

Mohammed Shawqi, Cluster Director of Sales of Ibis Hotel, concurred that this decision is a very good step. “Although the rates are lower than our prices before the pandemic, it’s much better than our present situation. I think this should have been applied a few months ago, as local hotels could’ve benefited rather than neighboring countries that benefited from the 14-day transit policy (for passengers arriving from 35 countries from which direct flights are banned). The hotel sector was the first that was hit by the pandemic and is suffering till now, so we really needed this decision to support us,” he told Kuwait Times.

In a related development, the interior ministry’s relations and security information department said Ahmadi detectives arrested an Asian laboratory employee accused of forging coronavirus PCR test certificates in exchange of money. Criminal detectives acted on tips received about an expat issuing negative coronavirus PCR tests certificates without carrying out the tests on the applicants.

Further investigations proved the information was correct, and the suspect was arrested. He told interrogators that he took advantage of his job to issue certificates for those who wanted it without going to the laboratory in Farwaniya. He used to take a swab of himself to guarantee a negative result. Those who received such certificates are being sought.

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