The Eid-al-Adha holiday season this year is considered the perfect time to travel abroad by UAE residents, with 4 out of 5 preferring to go for vacations, and only 1 out of 5 choosing staycations, as per travel experts.

The number of enquiries that travel agents have received so far indicate that people this year are more inclined to travel abroad than opt for a lavish staycation experience locally.

The reason is attributed to the six-day Eid break that falls right before the summer holidays for most schools, this time.

Rashida Zayed, VP Operations, says, “While the UAE summer is a big attraction for inbound tourists due to the many events being held by The Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), residents of the UAE are looking to travel outside the country, as this is an opportunity to reunite with family living in their home countries, or to explore new destinations with kids during the long summer break. About 20 per cent of our total demand is for staycation[s] within the UAE, whereas 80 per cent of the demand is for vacations abroad. “

“Summertime is usually the best time for UAE residents to travel to tourist destinations to experience a difference in climate and weather, so they mostly choose to travel abroad for summers rather than staycations within the country. As far as vacations abroad are concerned, there are a variety of countries that we receive requests for,” Zayed adds.

From the European regions, travel agents are receiving requests for countries like Switzerland, France, the UK, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and the Balkan countries – especially Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia, and Bosnia.

Reena Philip, general Manager, Airtravel Enterprises says, “At the moment we have enquiries for both staycations and vacations. Enquiries are there for the Far East and even to Europe. Sometimes, we do get some appointments in between. There is also a rush for destinations in Eastern Europe. People are mostly asking for places which do not require visas."

From the Far East and Southeast Asia region, travel agents see consistent demand for Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Among CIS countries, requests for Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia continue to come in.

“But requests for staycations come in suddenly, with more enquires expected closer to the upcoming Eid break. Weekend enquires actually come in throughout the year,” adds Philip.

Kazakhstan secures contracts with numerous UAE travel agents at Arabian Travel Market
Travel agents underline Schengen visa appointments still seem challenging with continuous ‘No Slots Available’ being displayed. “We are not getting appointments for France, Italy or Portugal. So, people are opting for destinations which have visas on arrival. Kazakhstan’s capital Almaty is a popular destination this year. Most of the travel agents in the UAE have signed a contract with Kazakhstan at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) and its being promoted in a big way here.

Vietnam has [an] e visa; Kenya is another destination that people want to visit, [and] Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Armenia are among the other popular choices. This year, understandably, the holidays seem to be a bit longer than the previous ones,” adds Lakshmi Anand, Managing Partner - S&T Travels & Tours.

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