Countries with better climes beckon this Eid
Bergen surrounded by mountains and fjords attaracts tourists of all age-groups.
Abu Dhabi - Eid holidays, coupled with school break, encouraging people to travel; Norway, Kerala, Turkey popular.
With the mercury hitting 49 degree Celsius this summer, many residents here are packing their bags and heading to cooler climates during the Eid Al Fitr holidays.
According to travel agents here, although Europe and the Far East remain the usual destination of choice, the trend is shifting towards Norway in Europe.
"There's traffic now to Scandinavian countries like Norway. The number of bookings to Norway and the Czech Republic has increased from last year," said Dinesh Nair, in-charge of leisure at Omeir Holidays. Around 85 per cent of clients at the agency are Emiratis.
He noted that Bergen - a city on Norway's southwestern coast which is surrounded by mountains and fjords and boasts of scenic views attracts families and youth keen on trying their agility at hiking. According to Nair, business of Omeir Holidays rose by 20 per cent this year, with residents opting to travel to Norway in addition to the main host countries such as the UK (London), Germany, Austria, France (Paris), Italy and Switzerland.
He noted that the relaxation of visa to the UAE nationals going to Schengen countries have contributed to the increase of travellers to Europe. In addition, Eid this year has fallen during the school break, allowing families to stay longer in these places.
"Between 30 to 40 per cent of clients travel at leisure during thesummer," Nair stated.
In Asia, while Thailand and Malaysia continue to compete for traffic, travellers are also starting to eye Kerala as a family destination. According to Mary Thomas, managing director of Bin Moosa Travel, the current weather in the South Indian state, places of tourist interest and the rates are attracting group bookings. "We have a good response for Kerala from families here going there for 10-12 days. It's a good season now. It's raining there with temperature ranging between 15 and 20 degree Celsius in the hillyreas. And at this time of the year the rates are good, they pay only half the usual rate," explained Thomas.
Despite the increase in airline rates from Abu Dhabi to Kerala due to "seasonal fare" (from the previous Dh1,200, the fares have gone up to Dh2,800) travelling to Kerala is still a much cheaper option for big families compared to going to Europe.
Thomas said a recent booking of nine passengers - four adults and five children - cost them a total of Dh33,000 and this includes airfare, four-star hotel stay for 11 nights at six different cities and guided tours.
Attractions in Kerala include the hills of the Munnar region where tea gardens are located, the wildlife sanctuary and spice garden in Thekkady and the backwater houseboats of Aleppey.
For those looking to experience the best of both worlds, have the feel of Europe and Asia, minus the expensive airfare and hotel accommodation, Turkey remains the favoured destination.
Biju Nair, sales and marketing manager of Lulu International Travel and Tourism, said he also received many enquiries for Salalah in Oman from the local community.
However, with Eid Al Fitr falling on the weekend, it was not ideal for their regular clients who work in the private sector to leave. Thus, many opted chose to stay put.
"If they don't get four to five days, it's not worth travelling as there's not enough holidays," he said.