Airfares to popular expatriate destinations have soared by 40 to 60 per cent, heads of airlines and leading travel agents have said.
According to industry experts, the demand for travelling abroad during the five-day Eid Al Fitr holiday, from May 1 to 5, is also high as this is the first time in two years that most Covid-19 restrictions have been eased.
Depending on their final destination, ticket prices to specific popular destinations in the sub-continent - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal - are set between Dh1,200 to Dh2,052.
However, airfares to the Philippines, for example, are much lower compared to the peak pricing in February-March.
“Moreover, airfares to Sri Lanka are also very low due to the ongoing financial and economic crisis,” said TP Sudheesh, the general manager of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency LLC.
He explained, “Except for Sri Lanka, ticket prices to all destinations where expatriates hail from have soared by 40 to 60 per cent. Many festivals and celebrations are happening at the moment.” According to Sudheesh, since travelling with the family has become more accessible, tourist movement has increased to almost pre-pandemic levels.
“Unfortunately, the supply is yet to match with the current demand. Therefore, the prices of air tickets are surging,” added Sudheesh. Prices to short-haul GCC destinations such as Oman and Saudi Arabia are also rising. Similarly, ticket prices to the UK and Georgia have also increased.
Sudheesh further said: “Ticket prices for destinations where expatriates belong to - have gone up. Instead of Sri Lanka, beach tourism traffic has diverted to India and Maldives."
Here is a breakdown of ticket prices for these top travel destinations during the five-day Eid weekend. All dates are for departure on May 1 and return on May 6.
The average cost of a return ticket to Makkah (Jeddah Airport) is between Dh1,200 and Dh1,480.
Malik Bedekar, operations manager at Smart Travels, said, “People are travelling to Makkah for religious pilgrimage during this time of the year - and Umrah packages are completely sold out.”
Umrah by bus costs Dh1,850; however, due to the high demand, the prices have gone up to Dh2,700.
“For those wishing to travel by air, the fares start at Dh1,480 to Jeddah Airport from Sharjah via Air Arabia. Prices on flights departing from Dubai prices are slightly higher.”
Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to show PCR test results pre-departure. However, non-vaccinated individuals need to show PCR within 48 hours.
The average fare of a return ticket to Muscat is Dh990. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi offers a Dh281 flight.
While demand for travel to Muscat is high during the Eid Al Fitr holiday, several passengers also prefer travelling by bus from UAE to Oman. Compared to other destinations like Georgia, travelling to Oman is cheaper. The bus package starts at Dh699, which includes a two-night stay with breakfast, AC luxury bus travel, Oman visa, and sightseeing.
Average of a return ticket to various destinations:
>>Dubai to Mumbai - Dh1,365
>>Sharjah to Mumbai - Dh1,353
>>Dubai to Kochi - Dh2,001
Prices to South Indian states, especially Kerala, are historically high during this time, said travel agents. Tickets to airports such as Kochi, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Thiruvananthapuram average at Dh2,000 during the Eid holiday. According to Bedekar, Delhi is also a peak sector, Lucknow and Kanpur. “Sectors in the West, including Mumbai, is less. However, cities such as Ahmedabad are higher because the frequency of flights is low,” he explained.
Moreover, prices vary depending on the cities as well as the airline.
All fully-vaccinated individuals are not required to show a PCR test result; however, filling up the Air Suvidha form is mandatory.
The average cost of a return ticket to Karachi:
>>Sharjah to Karachi - Dh937
>>Dubai to Karachi - Dh1,159
>>Dubai to Lahore - Dh1,265
Travel to Pakistan during the Eid Al Fitr holidays is a favourite among expatriates living in the UAE. For example, ticket prices from Sharjah are relatively less than ticket prices from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said travel agents.
Now that Pakistan has eased travel regulations, all passengers must present a valid vaccination certificate that states the passenger has been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before travel or provide a recovery from Covid-19 certificate.
The average fare for a return ticket to Manila is Dh3,300
Malou Prado, the CEO and owner of MPQ Travel and Tourism, said vaccinated individuals need to take a PCR test valid for 48 hours. “Approved vaccines include Pfizer and Sinopharm.”
However, unvaccinated individuals need to undergo a five-day hotel quarantine. “The demand right now and during the Eid holidays is very high. A lot of people are travelling for the much-awaited vacations. Thankfully ticket prices are falling,” she explained.
A one-way ticket to Manila on Emirates Airlines and Philippines Airlines costs Dh1,750, while a round trip ticket is priced at Dh3,300. Cebu Airlines' fare is Dh3,700 for a return ticket.
“Between February and March, when the Philippines government eased the travel restrictions, ticket prices shot up to Dh4,800,” she added.
The average fare for a return ticket to London is Dh3,455
>>Abu Dhabi to London: Dh3,555
During the Eid Al Fitr holidays, demand for UK sector is high only among British expatriates, who wish to travel home to see their loved ones for a short trip. Leisure travellers are not as high as compared to other European destinations.
According to Emirates Airlines, there are no Covid‑19 entry restrictions for United Kingdom. This includes requirements for testing, vaccination, quarantine and entry forms.
The average cost of a return ticket to Tbilisi is Dh1,995
According to flydubai’s travel advisory, passengers arriving in Georgia must submit a pre-registration form. Those who have recovered from Covid 100 days ago and passengers with a Covid-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated need not fill out the form.
The vaccination certificate must be in English. Unvaccinated travellers must provide a test report valid for 72 hours.
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