you booked your Eid trip yet? Travel agents in the UAE have been swamped with last minute bookings after Eid-al-Fitr holidays were confirmed.
Most residents started calling travel agents only hours after the 9-day break for the public sector and two-day break for private sectors were announced.
Premjit Bangara, general manager of Sherif Travel in Dubai, was reported to have said in The National that most of the residents are booking short-haul destinations to places like Jordan, Egypt and Istanbul.
Additionally, some residents have opted to vacation in Oman while others have decided to visit the popular destinations of Thailand and Malaysia.
“Although many people had prearranged their holidays in advance, many were waiting to see how much time off they had before committing,” Mr Bangara added.
Thomas Punnoose, sales manager at Al Badie Travel in Abu Dhabi expressed some concern about the late bookings, adding that residents who choose to leave their travel plans to the last minute might get very disappointed as they might not find flight or hotel bookings.
He added that many residents think that leaving booking to the last minute will allow them to take advantage of special offers; he explained, however, that because most people take their summer holidays at this time, most flights and hotels are fully-booked.
He added that most UAE expatriates have already confirmed their bookings much earlier; most of the people booking now are Emiratis who are planning short trips of only three or four days.
Conrad Caeiro, operations manager at Omeir Holidays in Abu Dhabi echoed what Mr Punnoose said, adding that residents also need to take into account that some travel destinations require entry visas for certain passport holders – the current wait for a Schengen visa to enter most European countries can be anything from four days to two weeks.
He also encouraged travelers to be open to short layovers for either a few hours or even a few days in other countries. If residents are planning trips to North America, for example, a short stop in Europe could help them find last-minute bookings.
Dubai-based Emirates Airlines and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways are both gearing up for an extremely busy time of the year – with Eid falling in the middle of the summer holidays, there is a UAE resident exodus!