Holiday bookings surge as UAE residents get ready for long Eid

With UAE residents expected to have a 5-day long weekend this month, tour operators and hotels are getting busy

Dubai: Travel and hotel bookings have surged on expectations that UAE residents will have a long weekend later this month, sources told Gulf News. With a five-day long break likely to begin in the fourth week of September on account of Arafat or Hajj Day and Eid Al Adha, tour operators and hotels in the UAE have been receiving a number of queries and reservation requests. Arafat Day is expected to fall on September 22 (Tuesday) and Eid Al Adha will likely be on September 23 and 24 (Wednesday and Thursday). If the succeeding weekend is included, private sector employees are expected to have five consecutive days of vacation.

According to Premjit Bangara, general manager for travel at Sharaf Travel Services, many expatriates, particularly Asians and Europeans, are busy making travel plans and getting ready to pack their bags to explore destinations abroad. UAE-based hotels are also noticing a surge in queries and booking requests both from UAE residents and GCC nationals. Local occupancy rates are expected to go up during the long weekend as huge numbers are also choosing to stay in the region for the holidays.

We have noticed a definite increase in queries which are slowly being converted to firm bookings from UAE residents anticipating the long Eid break and hence are taking advantage of this to explore other countries, Bangara told Gulf News.

We are seeing the usual mix of nationalities securing bookings with Asian and European expats topping the list followed by UAE nationals, Lebanese, Syrians, Egyptians, Jordanians and also a small number of US and South American expats, too. Indians and Filipinos top the list of UAE residents looking for Eid getaways, according to Bangara.

The most popular destinations booked with us are Thailand, Georgia, Italy, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Salalah in Oman. Tilal Liwa Hotel in Abu Dhabi is expecting a full house during the fourth week of September. We are getting most of the booking requests from a mix of nationalities from within the UAE Indians, Filipinos, Europeans, Arab nationals and UAE nationals, Khaled Sharabassy, the hotel’s general manager, told Gulf News. Jihad Fattouh, executive assistant manager, First Central Hotel Apartments in Dubai, said they are looking to close at 100 per cent occupancy during the Eid holidays. Bookings will start to increase over the coming days and will continue until the holidays arrive. We also expect to receive a great amount of last-minute bookings, said Fattouh.

Tarek Aouini, general manager of Emirates Grand Hotel, said they are already getting booking requests from residents across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, especially from Saudi Arabia. The hotel is expecting its guest numbers this year to surpass previous Eid holidays. The holidays are expected to be extended which would eventually end up benefiting us, as most families tend to extend their stays combining the weekends, Tarek said.

We aim to close in range of 95 per cent, and hopefully, a full house for the main days of Eid holidays plus the weekend.

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