At this time of the year, citizens of Gulf nations start taking off to several parts of the world not only to escape the scorching summer heat in the region, but also to take a break from a usually hectic year.
A large portion of Gulf citizens, especially families, has
for years preferred traveling to the nearby Arab countries like Egypt, Lebanon,
Tunisia, and Syria.
Turkey has to a great extent replaced Egypt for many Gulf
tourists, said Karim Mohammed, an employee at the al-Saad Travel in Kuwait.
“The increasing popularity of Turkish soap operas has also
played a major role in attracting Gulf tourists,” he told Al Arabiya. “Many of
them request a visit to the mansions in which those soap operas were filmed.”
Ottoman palaces and Princess Islands, Mohamed added, are
among the most popular sites in Turkey for Gulf tourists.
“However, some of them ask to visit places in Turkey that
nobody has heard.”
For example, he explained, there were requests for the
city of Trabzon on the Black Sea which is famous for its natural beauty and its
lakes as well as the cities of Amasra and Rize, also on the Black Sea.
“Unlike what used to happen before, tourists now come to
us with information about places we have never heard of and they almost have
their trip fully planned and just need travel agencies for bookings.”
Latin America, Mohamed added, is now one of many favorite
destinations among Kuwaiti youth.
“A group of them came to me and wanted to start their trip
from Venezuela then Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, and finally Argentina. They had
pictures of amazing places like Lake Titicaca, the Andes, Sao Paulo, and
Several places in Asia that are not known as tourist
attractions are also requested, Mohamed noted, like Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
“As for Africa, some tourists demand very specific places
there like one who wanted to visit the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.”
Very specific requests also extend to the Caribbean for
instead of the regular cruises, some tourists ask for a particular island.
“One of my clients wanted to go to the island of
Martinique. It is one the most beautiful islands ever.”
Regarding the costs of such trips, Mohamed said this
depends on several factors.
“One trip can cost $100 and another $100,000. Depends on
the place and if they are traveling in groups. The most expensive are trips to
the Amazons and Fiji islands.”
Fahd al-Kandari, from Kuwait, said he is planning to go to
Malaysia this summer.
“I heard about Genting Theme Park which is located above
the clouds and I saw amazing pictures of it, so I booked it for my family and
I,” he told Al Arabiya.
Kandari added that he has a budget of $10,000 for this
trip for a 20-day period and during which he is planning to visit Malaysia’s
most important attractions.
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