Kuwait: More than the Land of Sand & Camels?

It was once said in the Gulf region that Kuwait represents the past, Dubai represents the present and Qatar represents the future.

Being an expat that has lived their entire life in Kuwait, I resented that statement, until just recently when I realized just how true that statement was; hear me out before jumping down my throat (and please save the “if you don’t like it leave” speech or say something more original).

When people say, “let’s go visit Dubai!” what usually comes next after that sentence? They have:

– Burj Khalifa

– YAS Island

– Sky Diving

– In-door skiing

– Various sports events/ concerts

Dubai Then & Now

Dubai

Dubai Then & Now

Dubai

Dubai Then & Now

Dubai

What about Qatar? Slowly but surely its list of activities is growing as well, all though Qatar is choosing the path of monopolizing sports/ arts in the region. What makes Qatar different than Kuwait is that its Corniche has been taken over by restaurants at every corner! You can still enjoy a long walk on the pavement by the sea and not have your view obstructed by Golden Arches or Winking Colonels, or a restaurant named “Penguin” that strangely enough neither caters to nor serves their aforementioned namesake!

Qatar

Now ask yourself this; when people think “lets go to Kuwait!”, what comes next? What have we got to impress them?

It will come as no surprise to everyone that has been living in Kuwait for a prolonged period of time that very little commercialization has taken place in Kuwait over the past decade.

The only thing expats dream of doing in Kuwait is going to the desert, and having a camel back ride. I’ve checked. And maybe Souq Mubarakiya as well, however it has lost its touch of antiquity as of the latest expansions – it is no longer what it once was a few years ago – a cultural equivalent of a trip down memory lane.

The malls that are popping up all over Kuwait, including the many extensions of the Avenues, 360, the Promenade (or whatever it is called on the Fifth Ring Road), the Plaza (or whatever it is called on the Third Ring Road) are not what people visit (or stay in) the country for; malls can be found anywhere, and all they offer is the same exact shops selling the same exact goods in a different location.

The list of activities to do in Kuwait is dwindling; there are only so many times you can do certain things before they become monotonous.

Just recently Oman hosted its inaugural ultramarathon in its desert, a 165KM affair over a 6 day period. Kuwait has vast expanses of desert, why is such an event not hosted here?

It is not Kuwait’s fault, I blame the media. Take for example Al-Hamra Tower; from an architectural perspective, the tower incorporates never-before-used designs whereby all the offices are shaded as a result of the curvature of the tower. This was mentioned in a documentary on the Discovery Channel; however it has not been mentioned again since. Now the only thing synonymous with the Tower is Grand Cinema (and maybe Elevation Burger, Versace Cafe etc.). Anything that has a slight chance of creating a media pull is not covered well enough in international media.

In over 20 years, Kuwait should have more to offer than malls and Retail Therapy.

Maybe Kuwait can take the offensive when it comes to television; Kuwaiti shows are highly regarded in the region. Maybe Kuwait can become the Hollywood of the Gulf, or Gullywood?

That’s two ideas to move forward; use them and give me credit (and royalties).

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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