UAE - Some UAE residents are opting for staycations amidst high airfares and also to avoid the hassle of multiple Covid-19 PCR tests and additional documentation to travel abroad with families for the upcoming four-day-long National Day holidays in the first week of December.

Hotel industry executives told Khaleej Times that occupancy increases by up to 30 per cent over the long weekends, reaching 100 per cent for many properties in the country.

UAE residents will have a four-day break from December 1 to 4 to mark Commemoration Day and National Day.

David Todd, head of operations for MEA at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), said demand is higher during the National Day holidays with staycations growing.

“Occupancies are seen to be higher in Dubai, versus the other emirates. We do enjoy higher occupancies across the Middle East during long weekends. During the pandemic, guests were choosing to explore their country or city of residence as various borders were closed and the travel situation was uncertain. Staycations allowed guests to take a break from their daily routine and enjoy time with family and friends,” said Todd.

“Currently, we are seeing more inbound travellers into the UAE, especially with the launch of Dubai Expo as well as more outbound leisure travel as borders have opened and restrictions have eased,” he added.

Iftikhar Hamdani, area general manager for HMH Hotels Northern Emirates, said long weekends in UAE are always a blessing for the hotels as they boost family domestic tourism.

“Our hotels remains 100 per cent occupied in all long weekends, and we forecast the same for the upcoming long weekend in December. Although travelling abroad has eased now, thanks to mass vaccination in UAE, but staycations have also increased because there are still some hassles for outbound UAE travellers such as increased airfares, multiple PCR tests and additional documentation requirements when travelling with the family,” he said.

As reported by Khaleej Times this week, airfares on the Indian Subcontinent have almost doubled on certain popular routes for December due to school holidays and increased flow of tourists to the UAE for the Expo 2020 Dubai and corporate trips.

Ayman Ashor, general manager, Al Bandar Rotana and Al Bandar Arjaan by Rotana, said staycation is becoming very popular, of late, among the UAE nationals and residents.

“There are plenty of possibilities for families, groups and individuals to explore the UAE. Driven by good weather and multiple entertainment options, hotels and resorts offer a wide range of staycations and activities,” he said.

Grace Margarett, executive assistant manager for rooms and revenue, Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa, echoed her industry peers, confirming a good pickup during the National Day break.

“During the long weekends, occupancy increase between 20 to 30 per cent on average as compared to weekdays or normal weekends,” she said, adding that staycations help residents to spend more time with their families as travelling abroad is more time-consuming exercise, especially during the pandemic.

“Also, people prefer to escape from their daily routine and want to rest and enjoy hotel facilities, therefore, staycations are becoming increasingly popular. Dubai is a tourist destination, hence why not residents also become a tourist and treat themselves with a staycation,” she added.

Mahwussh Alam, co-founder and managing director of One Perfect Stay, noted that the demand for holiday homes has been soaring since October both from residents and tourists.

“Winter is the best season to be in UAE when the temperature for outdoor activities is perfect while Covid-19 are also very low,” she added.


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