It was recently announced that health authorities are considering restarting flights between Kuwait and the 34 banned countries, but will stipulate that returnees are obligated to follow health regulations, including PCR checks and mandatory institutional quarantine, Al Rai daily reported. This has prompted many from the tourism and travel sector to offer packages for the returnees with likely costs reaching KD300.

The head of the Federation of Tourism and Travel Companies, Mohammad Al-Mutairi, stated that the news is pumping blood into the veins of the local economy, as the start of the return of expatriates will help to stimulate many economic sectors that have been affected by the repercussions of the coronavirus measures, chief among them is the tourism, travel, aviation, hotels, industries and complementary activities, such as retail sales and food services.

Al-Mutairi revealed to Al-Rai that the tourism and travel sector companies have taken the necessary measures to create packages for returnees from the prohibited countries, in accordance with the regulations that will be set by the Ministry of Health.

He noted the companies are setting prices for packages on the basis of five price points, starting with prices of one-way travel tickets, then the cost of the PCR tests, the first upon arrival at the airport, and the next at the end of the seventh day of quarantine, next the transportation costs from the airport to the quarantine headquarters, and staying in the institutional hotel quarantine with food provided.

Noting air ticket prices differs from one country to another, he mentioned that the average ticket price will be at KD70 for returnees from Middle Eastern countries, while the average ticket price will rise to KD110 dinars for returnees from India and several Asian countries.

With regards to PCR tests, Al-Mutairi stated their prices will range from KD50 to KD80, while their costs may be added to air tickets or the value of the hotel quarantine, and the average cost of private transportation from the airport is about KD5 dinars, and it may rise to KD10 if hotels provide car service, or hire local companies to do so.

Al-Mutairi pointed out that the average cost of the institutional hotel quarantine depends on the type of room the returnee to the country wants, as hotel apartments go for an average of KD15 dinars per night, with a total of KD105 per person alone for the entire period of quarantine, while that cost decreases if two people or families stay in the apartment.

Pointing out that hotels will cost a little higher, he revealed that the average lowest price for a room is KD20 dinars, while the costs increases at the average highest price to KD100, indicating that meal options in hotel apartments will be easy, as customers will be able to order from delivery services without leaving quarantine, not to mention the possibility of starting contracts with companies to provide 21 meals to customers at an average of KD25, which rises according to the customer’s desire.

According to preliminary figures, he highlighted that the lowest cost for a package, including tickets, PCR tests, transportation from the airport, hotel accommodations and providing meals until the end of the 7-day quarantine period, will be about KD255 dinars per person, while that cost increases to the level of KD300 dinars for returnees from Asian countries and India, and the cost could be higher according to the desires of the returnees.

He emphasized that this cost might change, as it had occurred in the prices of ‘transit packages’ with the variety of options available at the start of implementing the procedures, and entering the market again in a state of competition.

The cost of housing arrivals to Kuwait now through other countries (transit) is more than KD500, and in some cases it is twice the estimated average if direct flights to Kuwait are allowed to start.

Al – Mutairi stressed the need for the necessary plan to go underway for allowing expats to return from the 34 countries at the shortest possible time, so that the value of the missed opportunities does not increase in Kuwait, which has already lost about KD127 million dinars, while sectors in other countries benefited due to the transit packages.

Al-Mutairi also mentioned that reducing the quarantine period to 7 days will reduce the return from abroad by an average of approximately 24 days, which will allow for expats to restart their jobs quickly, and push towards the return of activities naturally.

He explained that the local market has logistical capabilities that meet the transportation means necessary to transport returnees to the institutional quarantine, starting with the transportation sector in each hotel, and pointed out that hotels and tourism companies can provide service directly to the customer through local transport companies in a fast and reliable manner, and in compliance with health requirements.