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UAE Residents Opt for Longer, Exotic Holidays

by Staff

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, UAE travel agencies report a significant uptick in travel bookings, with a notable trend towards longer stays and exotic destinations. According to musafir.com, approximately 25-28% of bookings are for extended holiday packages, a surge attributed to the alignment of Eid Al Fitr holidays with school spring breaks, enabling families to enjoy prolonged vacations. Raheesh Babu, COO of musafir.com, and Emily Jenkins, Senior Manager at DW Travel, both confirm this growing preference, highlighting various factors including rising airline costs and flexible working arrangements as key drivers.

Popular Destinations and Trends

European countries such as Greece, Switzerland, and France top the list of preferred destinations, alongside Japan and several CIS countries known for their hassle-free visa processes and cultural richness. Emily Jenkins notes an increased interest in Asian countries and ‘visa free’ destinations due to easier visa regulations, with Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia being particularly popular. The trend towards experiential travel is also on the rise, with safari trips in East Africa and wellness itineraries across Qatar gaining traction among travelers seeking unique experiences.

Planning Ahead

Another shift observed by travel experts is in the booking window, with travelers now planning their holidays 2-4 months in advance. This change is largely driven by concerns over pricing and availability, marking a departure from the previously common last-minute bookings. This early planning trend underscores the growing importance of securing the best deals and ensuring availability amidst increasing demand.

Impact on the Travel Industry

The convergence of school vacations, Eid break, and the first week of Ramadan as prime travel periods presents a significant opportunity for the travel industry. Sudheesh T.P., GM of Deira Travels, remarks on the traditionally high outbound traffic during March, now further amplified by the Eid holiday period. With many hotels and entertainment venues taking a break during Ramadan, the travel sector is poised to cater to the heightened demand for vacation travel, both outbound from and inbound to the UAE.

This year’s Eid Al Fitr travel trends reflect a broader shift in consumer behavior, with a growing preference for longer, more immersive holiday experiences in exotic destinations. The alignment of the holiday period with school breaks, the rise in airline costs, and the advent of flexible working arrangements have collectively encouraged this trend. As the travel industry adapts to these evolving preferences, the future of holiday travel appears to be geared towards more personalized, extended, and culturally rich experiences, offering travelers a world of new possibilities to explore.

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