Demand for luxury vacations grows during Covid-19; budget travel packages also stay in good demand for budget-conscious travellers.
Published: Sun 6 Feb 2022, 10:50 AM
Gone are the days when UAE residents would accumulate leaves to take a two-month vacation to go back to their home countries. Now, residents are travelling abroad for holidays also and many of them prefer their home countries.
Travel industry executives say that there has been an increasing trend among UAE residents to travel abroad for holidays as many new destinations have appeared over the past few years — within a span of four to five hours of flight. And these short-haul routes are mostly catered by local budget carriers, offering residents affordable holiday options.
Interestingly, residents now travel to their home countries not just to spend vacations with their friends and loved ones but allocate some time for holidays to hill resorts and other popular spots during their vacations.
As demand for luxury vacations is growing during the Covid-19 pandemic, budget travel packages also stay in good demand for budget-conscious UAE travellers.
“Currently, people prefer short-haul destinations like Georgia, Baku, Armenia. Over the past few months, we have even seen a lot of traction towards destinations like Russia, Serbia and Albania,” says Raheesh Babu, chief operating officer of Musafir.com.
People generally prefer shorter trips of 3-4 nights…as of now, says Babu, adding that with the changing nature of Covid-19 variants, people are sceptical about longer holidays as they don’t want to be stuck outside the UAE for long.
Mamoun Hmedan, chief commercial officer and managing director for Mena and India, Wego, says India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey are the top-trending markets for UAE residents for holidays.
While echoing Babu’s views, Hmedan says the length of stay for UAE residents’ vacations ranged between three to five days in January 2022.
Luxury or affordable vacations
Wego.com executive revealed that luxury vacations are on the rise, especially the all-inclusive deals because they give travellers more reassurance since they don’t need to expose themselves outside the resort during the pandemic, offering them security from both a health and safety standpoint.
Babu says Musafir has also received a lot of traction for luxurious Maldives holiday packages.
“Another popular luxury destination that we have received inquiries for is Greece. People are turning towards luxury cruise options as well.”
How much do residents pay for holidays
Babu revealed that over the past year, families have been spending a minimum of Dh10,000-15,000 whereas an individual’s average spending for holidays is between Dh3,000-Dh4,000.
According to Hmedan, a resident usually pays around $290 (over Dh1,065) for flights and hotels on average.
Buy now, pay later gaining currency
Hmedan noted credit and debit cards are the most common payment methods that are mostly used by the residents. “Buy now, pay later is on the rise. The adoption for it in the travel space has started and we are working towards offering it to our users very soon.”
Babu says credit card payments are the most common method among residents. “Once the payment is done, 10-15 per cent of customers opt for EPP (easy payment plan) with their banks,” he said, adding that there are multiple digital payment platforms that pay the travel operators and then provide them with EMI options.”