Tourists still avoid Europe and the US

RAS AL KHAIMAH — The RAK-based airline offices and travel agencies are witnessing an increase in demand for travel to destinations in the Far East, Australia and Arab countries, while the demand for European destination was going through a sluggish phase.

By Sadiq A. Salam

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Published: Sat 9 Jul 2005, 10:36 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:42 PM

“Despite the lifting of some restrictions enforced earlier by the western countries on offering tourist visas to local people, demand for Europe and the US is still dwindling,” Badar Altujar, General Manager of Al Thuraya Holidays, said.

He attributes the slide in demand for Europe to the high exchange rate of the euro besides the tough security measures put in place by some EU countries.

The agency organises trips to Australia, including stop-overs for one week or 10 days in Thailand, for just Dh7,000 per person.

“This includes air ticket and one month’s stay in a five-star hotel,” he said.

A one-week stay in Thailand or any of the Far East destinations costs around Dh2,400 per person.

“Only one family out of 10 of our clients plan to go to Europe, whereas the rest prefer destinations like Thailand and Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that Thailand had emerged as one of the most sought-after destinations this year.

“The modern medical facilities combined with cheap prices in this Asian country lure many UAE nationals to vacation there,” he said.

In the light of this development, airlines from these countries have hiked their rates, some even doubling the fare.

He said the demand for Arab countries like Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and Morocco increases during winter vacation and not in summer.

“A majority of tourists who go to these countries are the youth who plan to stay there for only one week or ten days, that too during winter or Eid vacations,” he said.

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