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Monday, December 4, 2023

UAE residents head for Eid, summer holidays as airfares surpass 2019 levels


DUBAI: Airfares from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to popular holiday destinations have finally breached pre-pandemic levels amid strong demand from UAE residents for travel and extended holidays due to Eid al-Fitr this year and the upcoming summer season.

Summer holiday options – Turkey, Thailand, London, Indonesia, Singapore (attracting both business and leisure travellers) and European destinations – are now “at least” 15-20% more expensive than in 2019,

We have witnessed fare increases in all markets. Freight rates remained stable for several destinations such as Georgia and Azerbaijan.

– Sapna Aidasani, Marketing Director, Pluto Travels

Ticket prices in the UAE have risen by a staggering 34% between the fourth quarter of 2019 (the period before Covid became a pandemic) and the fourth quarter of 2022. International travel from India saw the highest increase at 41%, followed by the UAE, Singapore (30%) and Australia (23%).

These figures are based on data from Airports Council International in the Asia-Pacific region.

How are tickets accrued?

Economy class fares to/from Istanbul (travel between 1-20 July) averaged AED 1,741 (Pegasus and flydubai), compared to around AED 1,500 in 2019. Round-trip fares in Bangkok (Emirates) cost Dh3,965-Dh4,384, compared with summer fares of Dh2,154 four years ago.

Fares to London cost Dh3,019-Dh4,252 (British Airways), compared to Dh1,779 in 2019.

Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travels, said India-UAE airfares, for example, have also increased by 20-26% from 2019 levels, especially for cities with high VFR (visiting family and friends) demand.

travel at all costs

Despite high interest rates, travel demand has not slowed. According to Skyscanner’s latest survey, 55% of UAE residents are looking to travel somewhere they’ve never been before during their upcoming holidays.

According to Ayoub El Mamoun of Skyscanner, “87% of travelers (survey of 1,000 UAE residents) plan to go on vacation during the upcoming holidays.”

Travel demand to European countries is also at an all-time high despite ongoing delays in obtaining new Schengen visas.

Ghassan Al-Khatib, Head of Product and Partnerships, luxury travel and concierge service ember Lifestyle

Our requests for Italy are insane, followed by Greece. These are our current best-selling destinations.

– Ghassan Al-Khatib, Head of Product and Partnerships, luxury travel and concierge service ember Lifestyle

According to Pluto Travels’ Sapna, “applicants who are granted visas are traveling without regard to any or all challenges.”

they are going on a long vacation

Another post-pandemic travel trend is taking shape. Emirati travelers plan to take longer breaks. “Three years ago, the average stay in a resort was no more than 5-7 days,” Sapna said. “Today, travelers expect to explore and spend more than 15-20 days in a resort.”

UAE residents are booking long-term holiday homes and want to immerse themselves in the culture, interact with the locals, cook their own meals and explore the destinations they travel to.

Remember, these trends are not limited to millennials or Gen Z travelers.

“Everyone is taking longer vacations; home travel is no longer a priority,” she added.

Airline Offers Summer Specials

The UAE’s major airlines, both full-service and budget airlines, have launched summer specials to lure travellers. Travel agents recommend interested travelers to book now to take advantage of these deals.

Etihad Airways
Muscat: Dh295
Istanbul: Dh895
Paris: Dh2,795
Manchester: Dh2,495

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi
Cyprus: Dh360
Greece: Dh460
Maldives: Dh720

Emirates’ “Significant Fare”
Colombo: Dh1,845
Entebbe: D1,715


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