Top holiday destination choices for UAE residents amid COVID-19

People shy away from selecting certain countries as they are concerned about the Covid-19 safety regulations in those countries

  
A family walks at Dubai International Airport, as Emirates airline resumed limited outbound passenger flights amid outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dubai, UAE April 27, 2020.

A family walks at Dubai International Airport, as Emirates airline resumed limited outbound passenger flights amid outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dubai, UAE April 27, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

UAE  - Travel agents are seeing a surge in enquiries for different holiday destinations ahead of winter vacations. They are advising people to check well ahead of time before making holiday plans.

“People shy away from selecting certain countries as they are concerned about the Covid-19 safety regulations in those countries. The UK has opened up for UAE nationals and residents but people are concerned about travelling there as Covid cases are quite high, so that acts as a deterrent,” said Hemali Shah, managing director of City One Tourism and Travel

“Many countries have opened up borders for international tourists and we see an uptick in travel for countries like Maldives, Armenia and Azerbaijan,” she added.

“Israel is another destination that people want to travel to but the problem is travel procedures are not very clear yet. I would also advise potential travellers to check with their concerned travel agents before travelling to a particular destination, as the situation is constantly evolving and sometimes, new rules are implemented with immediate effect. So, a lot of people get denied at the airport as well,” said Shah.

While many people are toying with the thought of leisure travel, most opt for homebound travel options, according to travel agents. “Of course, there are people who want to travel for leisure but the ones who are really keen on travelling are those who are home-bound — people who wish to visit their ailing parents or those who have pressing pending work back home.”

New travel trends

“Smaller groups travelling together is a trend that we are witnessing,” said Neeraj Seth, director of marketing, communications and PR, Kandima Resort.

“Bigger groups have now taken a backseat. People are travelling with their immediate family these days and not in extended groups like family and friends together. Trust is more within the family. People whom you live with, you travel with them and over whom you have full control in terms of sharing things.

“Another trend is travellers choosing to travel without their kids. So, couples travelling alone is also increasing,” he added.

Meanwhile, some travel industry stakeholders felt that majority of residents have a more reserved approach despite the willingness to travel.

Manvendra Roy, vice-president, commercial, Holidayme, said: “Travellers are still taking the wait and watch approach. We have seen the searches to holiday destinations like Maldives and UK grow considerably but this has not translated into real bookings. We are optimistic on the rebound of short-haul holiday destinations by the first quarter of 2021 and Europe by summer.”

 
 

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