UAE National Day holidays: Majority of residents to explore Dubai, Expo 2020

While people have an appetite for travel, they are exercising caution to minimise Covid-19 risks


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Wed 24 Nov 2021, 9:03 AM

According to a new YouGov survey released on Wednesday, more than half of UAE residents, 51 per cent, are planning to take a domestic vacation in the upcoming year-end holidays.

Just over a fifth, 22 per cent, plan to travel to other Middle Eastern countries, two in five (39 per cent) plan to travel overseas, and one in eight (13 per cent) do not intend to take a vacation this holiday season.

Interestingly, holiday preferences vary depending on one’s age. Young adults between 18-24 years are most likely than others to travel within the country this holiday season (65 per cent), while older adults (45+ years) are keener on international travel (46 per cent).

The survey was collected online among 1,009 UAE respondents between November 3 and 8, 2021.

Dubai top choice

Regarding the choice of place, YouGov’s Destination Index, which tracks public perceptions of destinations across 16 metrics, shows Dubai as the most considered choice for a holiday by UAE residents in the last 30 days. Abu Dhabi is the second option for people planning a vacation, followed by the Maldives.

As travel is bouncing back and many countries are easing travel restrictions, many international destinations are making it to the UAE traveller holiday wish list.

Along with Maldives, Switzerland, Canada, the USA, Japan, and the Philippines are some of the other destinations currently being considered by UAE residents for their next holiday.

While UAE residents have an appetite for travel, they are exercising caution and close to half said they would avoid crowded places and prefer less crowded or offbeat locations (49 per cent) for their vacation. Many want to avoid staying in shared accommodations (42 per cent), while some (29 per cent) would even refrain from using public transport.

To minimise the Covid-19 risks, a few would avoid using public washrooms (27 per cent), ridesharing (27 per cent), closed places (26 per cent) and eating at bars and restaurants (20 per cent) while travelling.


When asked how comfortable they are in sharing public places with tourists, most UAE residents (79 per cent) reported being comfortable with it. Only 6 per cent expressed concerns, while less than one in six (15 per cent) remained unsure. Men are notably more comfortable than women in sharing public places with tourists.

66% residents to visit Expo

With the year-end festivities kicking in, the UAE is geared up to host a lot of exciting activities and events.

Among the various activities in the country, most residents said they are most likely to visit the Dubai Expo 2020 site (66 per cent) this holiday season.

Many would like to visit their friends and family (53 per cent), followed by a trip to the beach (43 per cent).

About two in five (37 per cent) intend to attend the upcoming Dubai Shopping Festival, while some plan to explore other Emirates (24 per cent).

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