Travel agencies have seen mixed fortunes ahead of Eid Al Fitr as Bahraini families get set to jet off during the festive break with their families.

Last year, fewer Bahrainis opted to fly off because the holidays fell too close to school examinations. A sudden hike in the cost of living brought on by international events, such as the conflict in Ukraine, did not help matters either.

While the recent booking numbers have witnessed an increase compared to 12 months ago, it is still not back to the good old pre-pandemic days.

“There has definitely been more demand for Eid packages compared to last year,” said Dadabhai Travel and Tours director Adnan Gilitwala. “The timing last year was bad, because the exams were right around the corner from Eid, meaning most people decided to wait until the summer holidays.

“This year, Eid Al Fitr and Easter Break are close together, meaning people have more time to travel, so it is looking better.”

As a result, locally, there has been a mix of Bahrainis and expatriates grabbing their passports, albeit in different ways. Most citizens seem to be travelling alone or as couples, whereas expats are generally travelling as family groups.

Türkiye remains the most popular destination for Bahrainis, although other countries are proving a draw too. “Recently, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Bosnia are proving attractive to visitors from Bahrain,” Mr Gilitwala said. “This is mainly due to the affordability of the packages and of the destinations themselves.

“Other than those, Egypt is growing in popularity as well. GCC countries, of course, especially Dubai, remain very desirable because of how close they are. Some are also choosing to go to Mecca to do their pilgrimage during these holidays.”

Mr Gilitwala believes fewer Bahrainis will be travelling to European destinations during Eid Al Fitr, as they prefer to book over the summer.

“Bahrainis prefer to travel for longer periods of time when with their families, which may not be possible during Eid,” he said. “That is why they keep European destinations, especially the Schengen countries, as preferred summer destinations.

“Even the UK, despite the new easier entry requirements, remains more of a summer destination for them.”

World Travel Service general manager Haifa Oun has also received similar enquiries and agreed that people are more selective and price conscious than ever.

“Generally, we tend to see a high demand during Eid Al Fitr,” she said. “However, there has been fewer bookings compared to before, especially from expats.

“Istanbul remains the destination with the highest demand, although significantly less so with expats, probably due to the increasing visa and travel fees.

“We have witnessed high demand for GCC and Middle Eastern countries by both Bahrainis and expats, with Dubai and Cairo the top choices.

“We have seen many enquiries about Europe and the UK, especially from Bahraini families, but mostly regarding summer options.”


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