Ramadan, Eid in UAE: Residents opting for longer trips to exotic locations this festive season

Eid al Fitr is expected to fall on Wednesday, April 10, meaning residents are expected to get a six-day break during the time


Nasreen Abdulla


Sahim Salim

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Published: Tue 5 Mar 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 5 Mar 2024, 10:32 PM

More travellers are opting for longer breaks and travelling to exotic countries over the Ramadan and Eid period, according to UAE travel management company musafir.com. The company says it has seen a significant surge in travel bookings ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

“Roughly 25 – 28 per cent of the bookings made by customers are choosing longer holiday packages,” said Raheesh Babu, COO of the company. “We are witnessing this trend because this year Eid Al Fitr holidays are aligned with school spring breaks, which means many families are able to take longer time off.”

Emily Jenkins, Senior Manager at DW Travel, agreed that they are also seeing similar trends. “We have noticed a trend towards a longer length of stay when our clients are booking holidays,” she said. “We have attributed this to the rising cost of airline tickets, likely due to increased demand and capacity restraints as well as delays and difficulties in attaining a Schengen or USA visa."

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"More companies are also offering flexible working options allowing employees to work abroad at the start or end of their annual leave," she added.

Eid al Fitr is expected to fall on Wednesday, April 10, meaning residents are expected to get a six-day break during the time, extending from Tuesday, April 9 (Ramadan 29), to Saturday, April 13 (Shawwal 3). The sixth day of the holiday will be Sunday, which is a weekend. Most schools across the UAE have a term break beginning by mid-March.

Popular locations

As per Raheesh, the most popular destinations for this long vacation trend are mostly in Europe. “Greece, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan are some of the longer vacation destinations,” he said. “CIS countries like Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, continue to be in demand and sought-after destinations offering hassle-free visa processes, affordability, and immersive cultural experiences. Uzbekistan is also gaining popularity for its accessibility and affordability."

Emily added that other locations like Maldives, Sri Lanka, the UK, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Zanzibar were also popular. “Trending destinations include Poland, Kenya, South Korea and Bali,” she said. “Due to longer waiting times for Schengen or USA visas, we are seeing an increased demand for travel to Asia due to easier visa regulations. Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Bali, are all popular as well as other ‘visa free’ destinations such as Georgia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Turkey. Japan recently eased regulations for UAE Citizens and residents, allowing e-visa applications online.”

She said there were some other trends as well. “We’ve also seen a rise in requests for experiential travel across the Middle East and Africa,” she said. “Safari trips in East Africa, as well as wellness itineraries across Qatar, and multi-stop trips through Saudi Arabia.”

She said another noticeable difference was in the booking window. “In previous years, passengers were booking and travelling within a 14 day window, now we are seeing customers planning 2-4 months in advance, due to concerns with pricing and availability,” she said.

Traditional pattern

The increase in passenger traffic during March is not new just for this year, according to Sudheesh T.P., GM of Deira Travels. “This is a time when most schools have a break,” he said. “So traditionally, March has been a time of heavy outbound traffic. Combining a usually busy period with school vacation and Eid break is almost like a jackpot for the travel industry. Also, a lot of schools in the Indian subcontinent also have a break around this time. That is the reason why we see a lot of inbound travel as well during this month.”

According to Sudheesh, the first week of Ramadan will also see a lot of people travelling out of the country. “During the month, a lot of hotels and entertainment venues take a break due to it being a lean period,” he said. “This means a lot of staff are returning home for a vacation. That is why we see a lot of travel during the first week.”


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