Travel agents say spring break coincides with Ramadan is the main driver of the increase
Traffic to Umrah in the UAE tripled compared to the same period last year.
This is because Umrah operators in the country believe they have recorded a massive surge in pilgrimage ahead of Ramadan.
Spring break, which coincides with Ramadan, is the main driver of the increase, according to travel agencies.
The Mecca-based Bait al Ateeq Haj Service, with an affiliated office in Sharjah, is an agency that provides Umrah and Hajj services to residents of the country.
Shebin Rasheed, CEO of the company, said: “We have seen a significant increase in the number of residents traveling to the holy city of Mecca for Umrah. Compared to last year, we have witnessed at least an increase in the number of pilgrims from the UAE Tripled. Traffic is higher this year due to school holidays overlapping with Ramadan. Usually, families want to take their children along to perform Umrah.”
The application process has been greatly improved
Rasheed added: “Umrah agency has done bulk bookings earlier. Emirates, flydubai, Air Arabia and even Saudi’s flynas and several other airlines have come up with competitive rates. Covid restrictions for pilgrims, the upward trend is also evident. In fact, we have also noticed a great improvement in the application process this year, simplifying the process.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al Sudais, one of Saudi Arabia’s highest imams, announced that the Mosque of the Two Holy Lands is ready to receive hundreds of people during Ramadan. Thousands of tourists and pilgrims.
Al-Sudais said that all premises and services in the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque are fully prepared for Umrah performers, worshipers and tourists.
TP Sudheesh, managing director of Deira Travels, said: “Compared to the supply, there has been much more inquiries from people looking to do Umrah. There is obviously a lot of demand. School holidays rarely overlap with Ramadan. Unlike many other travel programs (whether Religious tourism has also increased, as has holidays versus family vacations.”
He added: “Umrah operators offer lucrative packages but prices for these packages are rising every week due to high demand. Many people want to travel during the first or last week of Ramadan. Demand outstrips supply in terms of transport services or accommodation availability.
“Because of these upcoming holidays, we have noticed an overall 25% increase in residents looking to take a vacation this year compared to the same period last year,” Sudheesh said.
20-25% more travel
Reena Philip, general manager of Air Travels Enterprise, said: “There has been an increase in the number of people taking Umrah this year. While we don’t deal with the issue directly, market trends seem to suggest the same thing. Interest is high. Colleagues in our India office have also reported an increase in traffic on their side.
“They also allow Umrah passengers to arrive and depart through any of the international airports in Saudi Arabia. Another incentive is the school holidays… Spring break this year falls within the first two weeks of Ramadan,” she added.
“Beyond that, there has been an overall increase in the number of people looking to travel this year. People have also been asking about countries like Georgia, Armenia and Sri Lanka. People don’t want the hassle of visas, so they’re increasingly choosing to do so using e-visas. Short trips to countries. In addition to this, people are also traveling to their home countries in South Asia during Ramadan. Overall, we expect an increase of almost 20-25% compared to last year.”
Mother of three to perform her first Umrah
Happiness is boundless for UAE resident Bushra Shamim, who plans to perform Umrah for the first time in her life.
Bushra said: “I am looking forward to performing my first Umrah with my whole family. It is a very important thing for us Muslims and for me personally as I never thought I would have the opportunity to do so during Ramadan. Participating in Umrah. Performing Umrah is one of my biggest dreams and I can’t wait. All these years my kids were young. But now they are 15, 13 and 7 years old and can travel with them, Especially when the school holidays are about to start. Also, Covid-19 is almost gone. I am happy to do my first Umrah with my husband and children.”
Some people plan to travel during Ramadan
Adilatul Abdulla, a Malaysian expatriate in the UAE, has alternative plans this Ramadan.
She said: “I’m going on a trip to Bosnia this Ramadan with my daughter and a friend. There are beautiful mosques in that place. A lot of the 16th century buildings are still there. I want to see those. It’s a five-day trip The trip. The weather was great there during the period. It wasn’t too hot and not too cold. I’m really excited. It’s perfect timing for us in every way.”
Azerbaijani national Maryam Shirinova is among those planning to stay in the country. She, her five children, husband and mother-in-law will be flying to the UAE this Ramadan and expect to spend most of the time praying with the family.
“We love the quiet Ramadan. The family reads the Quran every day, recharges their batteries, eats less instead of more, we will watch religious programs together and go to the local global village or any other attraction within the UAE,” says Maryam.