TBY talks to Shukri Salman, General Manager of Costa del Sol, on the facilities' unique offerings, potential in the Kuwaiti tourism sector, and ambitions for the year ahead.

 Shukri Salman
Shukri Salman has extensive experience in the hospitality industry in Kuwait. He joined Costa del Sol in 2010 as Director of Sales and Marketing and became General Manager in 2013. Previously, he was Director of Sales and Marketing at Safir International Hotel, Operations Director at Swiss Inn Plaza, and Director of PR at Crowne Plaza.

How do you position your hotel for business and leisure travellers?

Costa Del Sol Hotel-Kuwait is well known and suitable for both business travelers and families. Besides our four-star offering and very high service standard, our guests can overlook the Arabian Gulf from our premises. We offer different types of rooms and suites; standard, deluxe, and four different kinds of luxurious suites, all with competitive rates. For business travelers, we provide all required facilities and support for their requirements. For families, we have special packages that give the chance to each member of the family to enjoy his stay to the maximum level. Our restaurant offerings include Japanese cuisine, seafood, an international buffet, and place for our famous shisha. Our spa has unique offerings for our female guests; it offers them many professional treatments as per their requirements.

What should be done to unlock the full potential of Kuwait's business and leisure tourism, and where does Kuwait stand in comparison with other regional destinations?

Kuwait is improving the touristic facilities in all aspects; some of them are being enlarged, constructed, and some are on the drawing table to be implemented in the near future. The new Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center is a great example of such attractive facilities. It attracts visitors from all GCC countries especially for its wide range of concerts and other events. There are still obstacles that present challenges for tourists, like our visa requirements, albeit the government has now implemented an online visa program, an important step. More attractions are required in order to compete within the region; tourism has become a main source of income for many countries. In Kuwait, we can be much better by increasing the attractions, especially for families.

What are your primary ambitions for the year ahead?

We are optimistic and always look for opportunities that can enhance our business in the future. Developing our properties is a continuous process and new ideas are always in the pipeline. Kuwait is developing gradually and we are part of it. We do have here very good attractions for people to see and try. Kuwait has become a destination for GCC nationals whenever they have public holidays. They come as groups and families to enjoy the friendly atmosphere, especially in winter. As a Kuwaiti company we are planning to expand in Kuwait as well as abroad. Our new hotel in Spain will be opened in the summer of 2017 and it is the first Kuwaiti hotel in Europe owned and managed by a Kuwaiti company. Other projects are also being developed and will be ready in the near future. We move forward with steady steps and we make sure that the base is strong enough to bare our ambition, and we are looking forward to growing our business and to being on all continents.