Since the school holidays began in the Emirates, flight tickets have increased by 50 to 60 percent in December 2023
Several UAE residents were left scrambling to adjust their holiday plans due to a significant rise in ticket prices this winter, experiencing a sharp increase of more than 50 per cent.
Travel experts in the region emphasized that this sudden surge has led many residents to rethink their initial plans to travel to their home countries for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Consequently, an increasing number of people are choosing to celebrate the Christmas season in the United Arab Emirates, where the festive atmosphere is in full swing.
Lakshmi Anand, Managing Partner of S&T Travel Dubai, saying,
“Since the school holidays began, air tickets have increased by 50 to 60 percent in December 2023. For popular tourist destinations such as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, fares range from Dh3,200 onwards, compared with the summer holidays, where prices are in the range of 2,000 dirhams. Ground packages to these destinations have also increased due to high demand. “Flights to home countries such as India, Pakistan and the Philippines have seen a 50 percent increase this winter through the second week of January 2024.”
Even countries with e-visa options for UAE residents, where visas are approved within three to four days, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Albania, have seen a drastic increase in flight fares, they explain. industry veterans.
“Due to this, travelers are finding it difficult to finalize vacation packages.”
Travel agents also emphasize that families often travel to their home countries during the winter holidays. However, those who do this usually make their reservations several months in advance to get more competitive rates.
“Most travelers are confined to their homes, which has also been the trend at this time of year. Around the world, rates increased during this time. We can also see this increase in rates to European countries, the United States and India. Prices have almost doubled, with a 50 to 60 percent increase during the school holidays compared to the previous month. “People are mainly returning to their home countries rather than to holiday destinations.”
saying Raheesh Babu, COO, musafir.com
Many choose to travel by road and stay home.
Meanwhile, residents eager to return home and spend time with their families say the sharp rise in ticket prices has been disappointing.
French expat Marie Dubois said:
“My husband and I were initially thinking about traveling to Paris, but getting permission was a problem for my husband. Then, one of his colleagues who had previously requested leave canceled his plans due to some emergency in his family (here). Unfortunately, by the time we were able to book our tickets, prices had skyrocketed.
“When I checked the fares, a return Emirates flight to Paris was over Dh4,200 per person. Air France was also similar. Even a direct flight on Gulf Air was around Dh3,300 per person.
He explains that only flights with stops, with two or one stopover, were a little cheaper, but still exceeded 2,500 dirhams per passenger.
“Taking all factors into account, we abandoned the plan due to the exorbitant increase in ticket prices, especially if multiplied by three, as it did not make any financial sense. Instead, this year, our plan shifted to enjoying the UAE weather and celebrating the Christmas festivities together with friends through its variety of activities.”
Similarly, Egyptian expat Mariam Kiwan will now travel to Oman in lieu of her annual visit home.
“Every year we travel to Egypt, either Cairo or Sharm el Sheikh, to spend Christmas. Initially this year we had thought that we would not travel to our home country. But later we wanted to visit our family, so we thought of returning home. Then we surfed the Internet to see ticket prices. We noticed that prices are sky-high this time of year, and any last-minute bookings will put a big dent in our pockets. It normally costs Dh1,700 on Egyptair or Emirates. Now it is almost double.”
“We have thought about going to Muscat by road. The roads are good and the journey offers picturesque panoramic views. We will travel during one of the weekends and spend the rest of the time, both Christmas and New Year, here in the United Arab Emirates” .
Indian national Ijaz Hassan had no plans to return home during the holidays. But his plans changed when his sister, who lives in Bangalore (Karnataka, India), decided to visit her parents in Cochin (Kerala).
“As I have a four-month-old daughter and no one has seen her, I thought it would be a good idea to travel to Cochin, where the whole family can see my newborn. Since my sister is also coming to meet my parents, it will be a great reunion. But frankly, this holiday is turning out to be quite expensive for us, as a round trip would cost Dh6,000 on Air Arabia from Abu Dhabi. Other airlines from Dubai cost more than Dh7,500. Typically, a round-trip ticket for one person to Cochin during low season, depending on the airline, can cost as little as Dh700. So the difference is quite significant.”
News Source: Khaleej Times