UAE travel: Ease of visa process, cheaper tourist packages prompt residents to choose African destinations

Kenya, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania and Morocco are becoming favourite destinations for explorers


Waheed Abbas

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Seychelles. — File photo
Seychelles. — File photo

Published: Sun 9 Jul 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 9 Jul 2023, 9:43 PM

African destinations such as Kenya, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania and Morocco are increasingly becoming more popular among UAE travellers for multiple reasons including ease of visa process, more services by local airlines and cost efficiency.

Travel industry executives say that residents are also keen to explore new destinations as many of them have already experienced the traditionally popular tourist countries such as Georgia, Azerbaijan etc.

In addition, Dubai tour operators are also aggressively introducing new packages for residents who are looking to explore the African continent.

Mir Wasim Raja, manager for MICE and holidays at Galadari Brothers International Travel Services, said Morocco, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa are getting a good number of inquiries as more people are looking to fly to these destinations.

“People want hassle-free travel and visa is not an issue for UAE travellers to Kenya and Tanzania. It’s a challenge to travel to some Western countries due to visa issues,” said Raja, adding that Tanzania and Zanzibar are quite popular among UAE nationals as well.

As reported by Khaleej Times earlier, UAE residents have to wait till September-October for Schengen visa appointments due to a spike in demand.

In addition, he pointed out that African countries have also benefitted from the ‘revenge travel’ that the aviation sector witnessed in the post-pandemic period.

In 2023, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways recently signed a codeshare deal with six airlines including Airlink South Africa to boost connectivity. Flydubai also launched a daily service to Mogadishu Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) in March. The carrier doubled the frequency of flights from June 1, 2023, making it the first carrier to connect Somalia directly with the UAE.


For African tourism, September-October is traditionally a very high season when the popular wild beast migration takes place, attracting a large number of tourists to Masari Mara and Games Reserves.

TP Sudheesh, general manager, Deira Travel and Tourist Agency, said UAE residents are opting for Africa for two reasons – difficulty in obtaining visas to Schengen countries and most of the people have already explored or experienced the CIS countries and Georgia.

“Ease of visa process to African destinations is making them popular among local travellers. In addition, the increased availability of flights is also making it easier for residents to travel to these African countries,” added Sudheesh.

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