Fifa World Cup: Football fans in Dubai look to extend stay to celebrate Christmas, New Year

Tour operators say that it has much more variety in terms of tourist attractions, hotel affordability, airline connectivity, F&B than other cities in the region



Fifa fan zone in Dubai
Fifa fan zone in Dubai
by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Mon 5 Dec 2022, 1:28 PM

Last updated: Mon 5 Dec 2022, 7:52 PM

Many football fans who are staying in Dubai and Doha to watch Fifa World Cup are looking to extend their stay in the emirate to celebrate Christmas and New Year in the emirate.

Travel tour operators say that families from the US and Europe have settled in Dubai to enjoy shopping and entertainment Dubai while other members are busy with their business meetings and shuttling between Dubai and Doha to watch the matches.

People from around the world visit the emirate during the Dubai Shopping Festival ever year to enjoy shopping bargains and also for leisure travel.

Avinash Adnani, managing director of Pluto Travels, said passenger traffic into Dubai will substantially pick up from December 20 till the first week of January as tourists will flock to Dubai to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

“Most of the major local tourist attractions such as Burj Khalifa, The Museum of the Future and others are almost full. In addition, the Fifa World Cup is ending on December 18, hence, a lot of football fans are planning to extend their stay in Dubai. Many visitors who went to Doha directly are also looking to explore Dubai during the long Christmas and New Year break,” added Adnani.

“Many people have travelled to Dubai and Doha for Fifa World Cup from very far places in Europe, the US and Latin America. So they want to capitalise on this opportunity and explore Dubai as there will be long Christmas and New Year holidays in the three regions,” he added.

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Importantly, tour operators say that Dubai offers much more variety in terms of tourist attractions, hotel affordability, airline connectivity and F&B options for foreign visitors than any other city in the region.

Dubai has approximately 140,000 hotel rooms as compared to 45,000 in Doha. It is estimated that over a million people will visit Dubai during the course of the Fifa World Cup.

National carrier Etihad Airways expects to receive over 1.5 million travellers at Abu Dhabi International Airport during the winter break. Similarly, Dubai’s flagship carrier Emirates has issued an advisory for busy inbound and outbound travel period till late December during the festive season.

“A number of families from India have also travelled to Dubai and Doha for the World Cup. Since finding a hotel is a challenge in Doha, people are choosing Dubai as a destination to stay,” added Adnani.

TP Sudheesh, general manager of Deira Tours and Travels, said December, which is usually peak season in terms of tourism, has started on a very strong note, thanks to Fifa World Cup.

“Peak seasonal rush will continue till the second week of January because people will travel for Christmas. The Indian subcontinent passenger traffic has seen a 20-25 per cent increase due to World Cup whereas the traffic from the rest of the world has grown much faster. This is because carriers like Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have very strong connectivity and that helps attract a lot of visitors to this region,” he said.

Sudheesh added that families from the US and Europe have settled in Dubai where families enjoy shopping and entertainment whereas the head of the family who is interested in football matches easily shuttles between Dubai and Doha.

“This is the kind of traffic that the UAE is enjoying now. I see this trend continuing till the second week of January 2023,” he added.


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