Premium holiday packages from Dh7,000: UAE airlines, tour operators announce affordable luxury travel options

Packages often feature premium seats on flights, stay in a 4- or 5-star hotel with breakfast or half-board, private transfers, tours, luxury shopping vouchers

by

Sahim Salim

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Published: Thu 4 May 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 4 May 2023, 1:25 PM

UAE-based airlines and tour operators are increasingly looking to cater to a new class of travellers who are looking for premium experiences at affordable rates. According to travel experts, affordable luxury packages cost up to 20 per cent more than low-cost ones.

Holiday Factory, a company that specialises in curating affordable all-inclusive packages, has launched a new brand specifically targeting such travellers.


Sandra Dammrich, general manager at the new brand called Holiday Factory Premium, cited research conducted in the UAE to say that “one-third of the population is seeking premium holidays”. She said these travellers are “underserved with all-inclusive packages at the right price”.

Ekaterina Malikova, product manager, said 73 per cent of premium holiday seekers in the UAE look for all-inclusive packages and “95 per cent of those end up booking by themselves”.


“It’s a long, tedious process of endlessly researching and creating a self-itinerary which ends up being cost-ineffective,” she added.

The company is curating holidays to “popular and unexplored” destinations such as Switzerland, Italy and Maldives, among others. According to a marketing mailer sent by the company, all-inclusive packages to experience the Northern Lights in Finland that includes an ice igloo experience start from Dh7,000 for group travel. A Swiss holiday starts from Dh10,900.

The holidays are packaged with direct flights from local airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, flydubai etc. The all-inclusive packages offer premium hotels, transfers, insurance, and “curated daily expert-guided tours”.

While launching the new offering at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), Namrata Bhatia, director, marketing, at Holiday Factory, said: “The region has experienced rapid economic growth which has resulted in increase in disposable income of its residents. This, in turn, has created a surge in demand for premium holidays.”

Value-added services

Rahesh Babu, COO of online travel agency Musafir.com, said many airlines offer premium flying experiences with value-added services that are highly sought after.

“Since the launch of Emirates Premium Economy (seats), our customers are looking to opt for destinations with this flying option,” he said.

Emirates had introduced its Premium Economy seats in January 2021, becoming the only airline in the region to offer the experience. The seats boast legroom of up to 40 inches and wide seats that span 19.5 inches with an 8-inch recline.

According to Babu, Musafir offers premium packages to destinations in Europe and Asia. These include London, Paris, Munich, Zurich, Singapore and Thailand, among others. The packages feature Premium Economy seats on flights, stay in a four- or five-star hotel with breakfast or half-board, private transfers and tours and luxury shopping vouchers.

Premium flying

UAE-based airlines are catering to this segment as well. Emirates now offers its Premium Economy seats on several routes.

Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, had said last year that customers trading up from Economy to Premium Economy will be getting “excellent value”.

Earlier this month, flydubai unveiled its latest premium business class seat “which rivals the Business Class experience on board many wide-body aircraft”. Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, said the demand for business class is growing.

Etihad also upgraded its Economy experience, with its newest 787 featuring 271 seats that “boast exceptional comfort and an increased feeling of space”.

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