UAE - Some travel agents in the UAE are witnessing up to 25 per cent increase in the number of travel bookings made by travellers for Eid Al Fitr 2023, as compared to the same period last year. According to dnata Travel, visitors from the UAE are opting for an average of 4- or 5-night stays, with Eid Al Fitr representing a ‘long weekend’ with most preferring Asian destinations.

“At dnata Travel, Indian Ocean destinations and stays on Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, are highly sought after for a beach retreat,” said Meerah Ketait, head of retail and leisure at dnata Travel. “Travellers are opting for half board or all-inclusive dining plans as part of these beach resort holiday packages. Meanwhile, city breaks and shopping trips in Turkey, Spain, Singapore, Italy, and the UK are trending, with travellers opting for bed and breakfast meal plans to have in-destination dining flexibility.”

According to Meerah, travellers are making bookings further in advance to secure their preferred kind of trip.

UAE residents are expected to get their first long weekend of 2023 for Eid Al Fitr, which is expected to fall on Friday, April 21, according to the International Astronomical Centre. The Islamic festival is celebrated on the first of Shawwal — the month that follows Ramadan in the Hijri calendar.

Cooler weather

Other travel agents in the county are also seeing similar trends. “People are preferring to travel to cooler countries,” said Bharat Aidasani of Pluto Travels. “They want a shorter travel time of six hours or less and a destination where UAE residents get visa on arrival.”

He said one of the most popular destinations has been Baku. “A lot of people have already done Georgia and are now heading to Baku, Serbia and so on,” he said. “Our customers have been mostly looking for family travel packages and the average duration of the trip is about 4 or 5 days.”

According to Bharat, Slovania and Albenia are also among popular travel spots for Eid.

The official Eid Al Fitr holiday in the UAE is from Ramadan 29 to Shawwal 3. Ramadan 29 falls on April 20 this year. If the moon is spotted on that night, UAE residents will get a four-day break from April 20, till April 23. If the moon is not spotted, they will get an additional day off on Monday, April 24.

Excited to travel

According to Noushad Hassan from Alhind Travels, people are excited to travel this year. “For Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al Adha and the summer, we are seeing a very strong demand,” he said. “During the Eid breaks, the highest demand is for destinations that are a short distance away.”

The agency said some of their top destinations have been Azerbaijan, Serbia and Sri Lanka. “Most of our customers are enquiring about these destinations for a family holiday and we have some good packages,” he said. “The spots are filling in pretty quickly because people are choosing to book far ahead this time.”

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