UAE: Staycations see big demand during Eid

SM Ayaz Zakir/Dubai
Filed on May 15, 2021
File photo

Staycations at beach resorts were hugely popular among residents during the 5-day break.

Staycations were all the rage this Eid in the UAE, as residents enjoyed a safe Eid amid strict adherence to Covid-safety regulations.

With authorities warning of stiff fines and punitive action against Covid-19 rule violations during the holidays, many residents cut down on lavish gatherings, instead preferring to spend time with their loved ones at home, going to the beach or visiting parks. Many residents opted for staycations across the dozens of beachside properties in different emirates, due to which room prices at these places almost doubled over the weekend. Many went for long drives or camped under the stars.

“Several groups of residents booked our properties ranging from apartments to penthouses and villas next to each other,” said Vinayak Mahtani, CEO of bnbme holiday homes. “This not only facilitated security of the guests and ensured they followed rules on gatherings (we had limited guests in each property), but also allowed them to be close to their friends and families, while maintaining safety.”

Dubai authorities had banned gatherings of more than five people during Eid, with fines of Dh50,000 for hosts, and Dh15,000 to each guest. Many residents spent a quiet Eid at home and also ordered groceries and food online to avoid visiting malls, restaurants and supermarkets.

Aysha Akram, a Deira resident, said: “As restrictions were in place for Eid, I decided to celebrate at home. We had a small family gathering and I ordered commodities online, which is convenient when you order lesser quantity.”

Dr Dhananjay Datar, Chairman and Managing Director of Al Adil group of supermarkets and flour mills, said more customers opted for online shopping this Eid. “We saw a slight dip in Eid shoppers this year, but we noticed a big surge in online traffic. Customers made use of our online portal to get their Eid grocery, without violating safety protocols,”

Many supermarket chains also partnered with delivery apps to cater to reach more customers.

Kamal Vachani, Group Director, Al Maya Group, said many customers purchased gifts and other items online. “Due to the pandemic, customers don’t prefer to visit supermarkets, so we gave them an option to do multiple online purchases through Talabat, Insta shop, and other apps. As a result our Eid sales were not disturbed,”

Sagar Chandiramani, co-founder of Yeepeey app, said: “Yes, I would agree that people did not shop like before when they would host many guests at home for Eid. We noticed a dip in sales on the first day of Eid as many were out on road trips or staycations, but sales normalised soon after.”

Exploring local options

Staycations which have been in high demand since the pandemic started, were the rage this Eid too, with rooms in hotels and resorts sold out in most emirates.

With travel banned to the Indian subcontinent and few options available for international travel, many who were stuck in the country for the break, looked to spend their holidays on beach properties and resorts in the UAE.

Mohammed Arafath, one such resident, who was desperately trying to find a farmhouse or resort said there were hardly any options available and whatever was available was priced almost double the normal rates.

“Since my parents were here on a visit, I wanted to take them for a staycation. However, most of the farmhouses and villas in the northern emirates were booked a week before Ramadan. Luckily, I did manage to get a room in Fujairah,” he told Khaleej Times.

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