Outbound travel from the UAE is witnessing a massive boost for the upcoming Eid Al Fitr holidays as travelling has become much easier due to the relaxation of Covid restrictions by most countries.
Industry executives revealed that UAE residents applying for Schengen visa are unable to get appointments as there has been a surge in the demand for travel to these countries.
Consequently, travellers are opting for popular East European destinations such as Georgia, Armenia, Serbia and others that offer visas on arrival to UAE residents.
According to astronomical calculations, UAE residents are expected to enjoy a five-day break during Eid Al Fitr from April 30 to May 4.
With most countries easing travel restrictions and dropping PCR tests requirement, holiday movement and back-to-home travel have picked up fast this year, says Bharat Aidasani, managing partner, Pluto Travels.
“There are many inquiries from people travelling back to meet families or flying to cooler destinations. With the outflow of passengers growing, the European missions also see a big spike in demand for visas. People are not getting appointments and visas due to massive rush; therefore, they are delaying European travel plans till summer or opting to fly to East European countries which offer visas on arrival to travellers from UAE,”
“A year ago, people were waiting for the Covid-19 situation to get better, but now people have started planning their holidays and vacations in advance. And this gives customers better pricing, the airlines and hotels of their choice for holidays. Now it’s a worry-free journey because most destinations ask travellers only to show their vaccination certificate.”
Online travel agency Musafir.com said it’s seeing a 50 per cent rise in inquiries from UAE residents ahead of Eid and summer for outbound travel.
"There has been a pent-up demand for travel, and UAE residents have been eager to fly to other destinations besides their home countries. There is a strong desire among travellers to take big bucket list trips this year, particularly to safer and closer international destinations,"
says Raheesh Babu, COO, Musafir.com.
Mir Wasim Raja, manager for MICE and holidays at Galadari International Travel Services, said demand is strong, and people are willing to travel now because most of the restrictions have been eased.
"We have got good inquiries for Thailand and Europe. Since it's just 25 days before Eid, getting a Schengen visa is challenging for residents. But those who booked appointments earlier can travel to European countries. Latecomers can look forward to countries which offer visa-on-arrival to UAE residents,"
Bharat Aidasani noted that there are a lot of inquiries to 4-5 hour destinations like Georgia, Armenia and Baku. He said people who planned their holidays in February, can fly to Schengen countries.
"But those who're planning to travel now, they'll go to these destinations where they'll get visa on arrival. We are seeing good demand for Serbia also because it's a relatively new destination. But the challenge is that some nationalities don't get visas on arrival in Serbia,"
Airfares: Book tickets the earlier, the better
Despite airlines increasing frequencies, especially on the Indian routes, Aidasani noted that those UAE passengers who will book late for the Eid holidays will have to pay 20-30 per cent more on airfares.
"Flight frequency to India is much better now, reaching almost 70-80 per cent of pre-Covid-19 level. But still, the earlier you book, the better. If you book late, you will have to pay 20-30 per cent higher rates than the standard fair available currently to popular destinations in India and Europe. These are the days when airlines generate maximum revenues because the airfares then come down again after Eid,"
Bharat Aidasani added.
News Source: Khaleej Times