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Airlines, travel firms hope to cash in this Ramadan

Offer special discounts and packages to those taking to the skies this Ramadan

People passing by the travel agency in Deira, Dubai
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
People passing by the travel agency in Deira, Dubai.
Gulf News

Dubai: Ramadan marks a special time for families with many opting to spend the season travelling to their native countries to visit families, while others choose to travel to new, exciting destinations.

Travel companies and airlines across the UAE are offering special discounts and packages for all those taking to the skies this Ramadan, aiming to increase business.

Turkey remains a popular destination for many in the UAE with travel companies such as Sharaf Travel and Air Arabia Holidays offering special Ramadan packages to the country.

Sharaf Travel is offering a special package to Turkey for a five-day and four-night stay with prices for the package starting from Dh2,945 per person, including a return ticket, airport transport, hotel accommodation and city tours.

“Turkey is currently one of the hottest selling destinations for UAE residents and has fairly simple and easy visa procedures,” Annie Vinod, holiday consultant at Sharaf Travel, told Gulf News.

Vinod added that this particular package last year attracted around 120-125 passengers and that Sharaf Travel hoped to attract more this year.

“We look forward to having at least 240-250 passengers for the Ramadan package this year,” he said.

Similarly, Sharjah-based Air Arabia’s Holiday unit has unveiled a customized package to Turkey starting from Dh2,660 per person, comprising of three-night stay in the country including breakfast. Its other packages include destinations such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Kenya. These include a three-night and four-day stay at a four-star hotel with breakfast, airport transport and tours, all starting from a minimum price of Dh2,000 per person.

“There were 180-250 passengers travelling during the same period [in Ramadan] last year and, at the very least, we are expecting the same for this year as well. By Eid, the number of passengers travelling reaches between 300 and 400,” said Maher Azizia, sales and marketing manager at Air Arabia Holidays.

Luring customers with attractive airfares this Ramadan is also Emirates with special fares for the period starting from as low as Dh1,070 return in Economy Class to Kuwait and Dh3,100 return in Business Class for flights to Chennai, Kochi and Kozhikode. Other destinations included in the offer are Beirut, Cairo, Amman, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Vienna, London, Munich, Zurich and Manchester.

Emirates said in a recent statement that customers can save up to 20 per cent to certain destinations when travelling in Economy Class or Business Class, with the offer valid for sales up to August 11, for outbound travel between July 20 to August 15, 2012 (blackout periods apply).

“The UAE is largely an expatriate community with family networks often spread around the globe. To help bring families together during the holy month, Emirates has established these special fares,” said Khalid Bel Jaflah, Emirates’ vice-president, Commercial, UAE.

Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, too, are in the deals race.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is offering a special deal where two children between the ages of 2 and 11 years will be allowed to travel free when their parents make a booking to any of the cities of Kuala Lumpur, Seychelles, Mali, Jeddah, Karachi and Peshawar. The offer is valid till August 22.

Qatar Airways is offering special deals for travellers to the US from the UAE, wherein passengers travelling to New York can purchase a return ticket starting from Dh1,940 per person, while those travelling to Washington can get a return ticket valued at Dh2,520 per person.