Kuwait: Travel firms feeling the brunt of COVID-19 curbs

Cairo: Nearly 430 travel companies in Kuwait have been hard hit by government measures aimed to limit the spread of the coronavirus, according to a lawmaker.

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“The Kuwaiti owners of these offices are on the brink of suicide because they were the first to feel the bitter taste of the lockdown 11 months ago and have got no-one’s attention,” MP Ahmed Al Fadl said, according to Al Qabas newspaper.

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Those businesses have received no government or parliamentary support during the crisis, he added. In recent weeks, Kuwait has eased the virus-related restrictions as infections rates in the country have dipped.

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The government has recently given the go-ahead to the return of thousands of domestic workers stranded abroad due to the coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

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Domestic workers returning

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An estimated 80,000 domestic workers are expected to return to Kuwait in the next five months. But according to MP Al Fadl, their flights will do nothing to prop up the travel firms’ business.

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“They will return through a ticket reservation website directly linked to airlines without the involvement of travel offices,” he said.

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Al Fadl urged the government to “set things right” and move to ease hardships of the travel businesses. There was no immediate comment from the government.

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Thousands of expatriates, including domestic workers, have been stuck abroad after Kuwait announced in August a ban on flights with dozens of countries over the new coronavirus concerns. Majority of domestic workers in Kuwait are from banned countries such as India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

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