Outdoor and adventure destinations are preferred by UAE nationals and expats

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Posted: Mon 20 Dec 2021, 21:42

While several traditional vacation destinations have been forced into lockdown due to the spread of the highly contagious variant of Omicron, travelers to the United Arab Emirates are choosing “safer destinations” for their upcoming Christmas and New Years vacation.

Instead of canceling travel plans, UAE vacationers choose to travel to destinations in Eastern Europe and island countries facing limited Covid-19 restrictions; travel agents told the Khaleej Times.

In addition, thanks to the high vaccination rates in the UAE and as the UAE is on the “green list” for most vacation destinations, there have been no major changes in policies affecting travelers from the United Arab Emirates. country.

Instead, travel agents are taking precautionary measures to ensure that residents of the Emirates and the United Arab Emirates do not find themselves stranded in the middle of their vacation. Residents avoid popular winter destinations where Covid-19 cases are high, said Hossam Youssef, founder of Dubai-based travel agency Adrenaline Travels.

He told the Khaleej Times: “We are aware of the Omicron threat and we are seeing several countries being blocked and precautions being taken in some countries. Some have increased security and others are considering canceling entertainment activities during the holiday season. “

Youssef said these factors are driving local demand on the destinations.

Nature destinations above cities

The Netherlands entered a strict lockdown on Sunday and France banned all non-essential visitors from the UK to facilitate the spread of the new variant.

“Security concerns among UAE travelers are high. People want to go to safe places. People choose nature and outdoor travel places over cities, ”Youssef explained.

Bosnia, Albania, Turkey, Croatia and Finland are becoming popular destinations. “Finland offers activities related to Christmas and nature in particular. The famous Santa Claus Village, for example, is the ultimate destination in winter. Other popular countries are Georgia and Azerbaijan because they are affordable for those who want a short trip while on vacation, ”he added.

London continues to be a trendy destination for nationals and expatriates. He explained, “We are surprised how quickly people have embraced current travel trends. All travel decisions are made on the basis of the safest decisions. “

Island destinations are a safer bet

Sophia Tamang, Deputy Managing Director of Adrenaline Travels, added: “Other hottest destinations right now include Kazakhstan and Portugal. Demand to island destinations such as the Maldives, Seychelles and Zanzibar is massive. Obviously, these are all destinations where the Omicron threat is not apparent.

Tamang said the market was inundated with last-minute travel requests. “Christmas is next week, so we have a lot of clients planning to travel right away and come back the first week of January. Skiing destinations are also growing in popularity, ”she explained.

The most cautious travelers plan to leave the country in January-February due to the Covid-19 situation during this time.

South Asians avoid going home

Mir Wasim Raja, Mice Director at Galadari International Travel Services (ITS), said: “Most South Asians are avoiding going home at the moment. Instead, a large part of the demand is for destinations such as Georgia, Baku, Armenia for example. Especially since some of these destinations allow you to travel without a visa.

He added: “Considering the long weekend after New Years Day, people are taking advantage and booking tickets to short-haul travel destinations.”

He said families, couples and groups choose packages for these countries.

Rashid Abbas, Managing Director of Arooha Travels, said: “Bookings during this season are generally very high. Kiev and Azerbaijan are popular among South Asian travelers. However, the highest trend is for inbound travelers. Many people from all over the world travel to the United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai. “

He added: “Also, I think the confidence of the vaccinated people is very high. Considering the high vaccination rate in the UAE, people are leaving with more confidence. “

Top 6 things to keep in mind before traveling

  • Check the arrival rules of the country you are visiting, see if they only require a PCR test or if passengers need to be vaccinated
  • Check your immunization status. Some countries do not accept certain vaccines. Make sure your vaccine is accepted by the final destination
  • Prepare for your trip: complete the forms, schedule the PCR test and all other pre-travel arrangements well in advance
  • Health insurance is a must. Travelers should not leave without taking one
  • Go to the airport early. It is a busy period and travelers should make sure to arrive at the airport on time
  • Stay safe while traveling. If you see any signs of the flu or fever, get tested immediately. If you experience symptoms before the trip, avoid making the trip.

The best winter travel destinations

  • Bosnia
  • Albania
  • Turkey
  • Croatia
  • Finland
  • London
  • Kazakhstan
  • Portugal
  • Maldives
  • Seychelles
  • Zanzibar
  • Armenia
  • Georgia
  • Baku