Staycations in high demand over Easter weekend

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on April 1, 2021
— File photo by Ryan Lim

Local destinations hike weekend prices as residents not going for outbound holiday plans

Many residents are planning local staycations during the Easter weekend, with outbound holiday plans on the backburner due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Demand has been particularly high for hotel stays with prices twice the weekday amounts from April 1- 4, said Vivek Menon, a staycation and holiday travel expert with Deira Travel and Tourist Agency. “Hotels in the UAE are only operating at 70 per cent capacity as per government regulations. That makes it harder for residents to find cheaper rooms in beach-side destinations,” he revealed.

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TP Sudheesh, general manager of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency, also confirmed that the demand for staycations has been exceptionally high this season. He explained: “The inventory blocked for rooms with lower rates is comparatively lesser. If a guest is willing to pay more, the hotel will make rooms available for these categories of guests.”

Residents in Dubai and other emirates are looking at beachside properties in Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Fujairah. Demand in these destinations is at its highest, said Raheesh Babu, general manager of Musafir, an internet-based travel agency.

Several beach properties in the Northern Emirates have hiked their weekend prices by three to four times the weekday prices. “The most popular beach properties are in RAK, Umm Al Quwain and the Palm Jumeirah. These destinations have the highest demand at the moment,” explained Babu, adding that people are refraining from hotel stays in Abu Dhabi due to the Covid-19 testing requirements to enter the city.

According to Dutch online travel agency for lodging reservations, for example, 94 per cent of places listed on the aggregator are unavailable for a stay on April 2-3 while searching for properties on Palm Jumeirah. “The average price for stay during the weekend in a five-star Dubai hotel is Dh200-Dh250 over the weekday, not inclusive of taxes. On the weekend, the prices are at a range of Dh 450 to Dh500 per room per night for a couple,” said Menon.

On the weekend (April 2-3), an imperial club king room at Atlantis Hotel for a couple is priced at Dh 3,435. However, over the weekday (April 4-5), the palm king room in the same property is priced at Dh1,721. None of the prices includes taxes.

Babu said India-bound travel has been hit badly after recently announced RT-PCR requirements to enter the country. Usually, March–April are peak travel times as schools are closed for the holidays, he said. “However, this year, demand has been very low. The only destination with high consumer interest in the Maldives. However, most people can’t afford this destination.”


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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