TDT | Manama

The Daily Tribune –

The pandemic season has drastically changed the travel outlook for expatriates in the Kingdom, as they constitute a significant portion of outbound tourists during the current travel season.

Sources within the travel and tourism industry reveal that, unlike in previous years, many expats – either alone or with family – are following in the footsteps of Bahraini and Arab nationals to become globetrotters.

Speaking to the Daily Tribune, Jehad Amin, co-owner and general manager of House of Travel and chairman of the Association of Bahrain Travel and Tours Agents, said this trend could be attributed to restrictions and regulations in their home country.

“Most of the expats here come from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines. The regulatory frameworks in these countries, due to the COVID-19 situation, are a major contributor to this trend, ”Amin said. Adnan Gilitwala, director of Dadabhai Travel, said the pandemic has had a major impact on the travel prospects of expatriate communities.

“Before, expatriates were very used to returning home. The COVID lockdown has opened my eyes and now no one is taking the trip for granted, ”Gilitwala said.

Echoing a similar point of view, CD Singh, Managing Director of Bahrain International Travel, said Sri Lanka, Maldives and Georgia have emerged as top expat destinations during the season. “Expats, in general, are afraid to return home because of the restrictions there.

We also need to recognize the big change in their outlook, the post COVID situation, ”Singh said. Omicron’s fear has hardly affected outbound tourism.

“The demand for Europe has fallen and there have also been cancellations for Europe. This is due to the fact that the countries of Europe adhere to strict protocols to combat the Omicron threat, ”Gilitwala stressed. Amin said outbound tourism has been very active over the past two weeks.

“Dubai is undoubtedly the number one destination followed by Turkey, London and Riyadh. Omicron has moved some of the traffic, resulting in cancellations, but that’s only a small part of the picture, ”he explained. Singh said the situation has really improved from last year.

“Outbound tourism demands are quite strong despite the fear of Omicron. As always, Bahrainis prefer Turkey mainly due to the devaluation of the Turkish Lira and attractive offers from Turkey, ”Singh said.

“Expats prefer destinations like the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Strict quarantine rules in Southeast Asia have made countries in the region, including Thailand and Malaysia, less attractive. “