Abu Dhabi: With fares going up and flights filling up quickly, travel agents are advising UAE residents who are looking to get away this holiday season to book early.
“If you want to book to go to Turkey now for August 20 or 21, we wouldn’t be able to find a seat for you. You would find [one], but it would be in business class and that would be much more expensive,” a holiday consultant from Al Masaood Travel Agency said.
“The flights are almost all fully booked from August 20, all the way into mid-September for most of the destinations we offer,” a holiday consultant at Abu Dhabi-based Salem Travel Agency said.
“Seat availability as of August 16 would be a little difficult; there will still be some seats available, but most probably at much higher fares,” a representative from Akbar Holidays, an online travel portal offering services for India and the Middle East region, said.
The hottest travel destinations this holiday season in no particular order are Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and several countries in Europe such as France and Austria, Gulf News has learnt from various travel agencies.
“We have already seen bookings peak to a number of destinations, including those in Central and Eastern Europe, with Istanbul, Kiev, and Belgrade all in demand,” a flydubai spokesperson said. “For those looking for a beach holiday over a city break, Colombo has proved the destination of choice. With such great demand on Eid getaway flights, we advise passengers to book early to take advantage of our lowest fares.”
A representative from Alpha Tours, a Dubai-based tour operator, has said that Eastern Europe has taken the lion’s share for the upcoming holiday. “The reason why Eastern Europe is being more successful is due to better availability of flights,” he added.
According to Etihad Holidays, meanwhile, the top selling destinations this summer are “Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives, Seychelles, as well as France and Geneva”.
While travellers from the UAE seem to be heading to a number of different countries, one thing is for sure: everyone wants a good deal.
The prices for holiday packages offered range from Dh3,000 to Dh10,000, according to travel agents.
“The range is between Dh3,000 and Dh4,500 for six nights and seven days per person. Those are already sold in July and mid June,” the holiday consultant at Al Masaood Travel said, adding that rates could go higher based on client requests or specifications.
“Yes, of course value for money is always what clients look for,” the spokesperson from Akbar Holidays said, adding, “but this time around, destination takes priority over cost”.
“[People] are spending a lot more, everyone seems to be trading up, they are just looking for an enjoyable, reasonably priced holiday,” a holiday consultant from Salem Travel Agency said.
However, with Eid coming up in the middle of the summer, any destination that offers an escape from the scorching high temperatures would make a good holiday, experts said.