Dubai: Huge crowds descended on Dubai during Eid as unrest in neighbouring countries sent visitors flocking to the UAE.
Malls, beaches and markets were packed with families from all across the region, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman, in one of the busiest Eid seasons in recent years.
One father on holiday with his children said: “Every Eid we try to visit a new place. We prefer the UAE at the moment as it is a safe place.”
Visitors in Dubai’s heaving malls queued for hours to park cars and get inside at Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre.
And Eid travellers told Gulf News they love coming to Dubai because of its vibrance, hospitality and cleanliness.
One visitor, Sulaiman, who has come to Dubai from Saudi Arabia with wife Noora and their one-and-a-half-year-old son Motasim, said he visited renowned places and malls during their six-day vacation.
“It is our first time in Dubai; it’s hot but we are loving it here. Dubai is very vibrant, we have been to Mall of the Emirates, Atlantis, now Dubai Mall and a host of other places.”
“We have travelled to other countries but this time we decided to be in the UAE and would love to come back for another vacation,” said Noora.
Malls across the emirate organised numerous activities marking Eid.
Dubai Mall offered ‘roaming entertainment’ that included face painting, balloon artists, piano players and a carnival. Deira City Centre had a mascot to entertain, traditional activities like henna and traditional handcrafts.
Dr K. Naresh Goud and his family, who are on a visit to the UAE from India, said the wide variety of activities made their trip pleasurable.
“The malls, of course, are huge and very beautiful.
“We came on the 18th and witnessed how the celebratory mood engulfed everything on the first day of Eid Al Fitr. It has been amazing and there is something for everyone, we hope a few days are enough, we would certainly like to come back,” he said.
Kadhim Kabaish, a visitor from Saudi Arabia at Mall of the Emirates, said shopping has been at the top of the agenda for his wife and daughters. “Soon after breakfast we set out, lunch and dinner is at a mall only, we have been shopping for seven, eight and even more hours.
“Even though it is quite hot outside, there are so many things to do in malls, it’s quite enjoyable.”
Kabaish has travelled to several countries for his vacations and finds the UAE among the best. “We have been shopping a lot and it is mainly for clothes, Dubai has a huge variety,” said his daughters Rukayia, Kawtha and Fatima.
Ayesha Janahi from Bahrain said what she likes the most about the UAE is that it looks new and different every time she visits.
“I like the UAE a lot for its diversity and everything is very easy. We got the hotel bookings done in advance and even as we see so many people around, it has not been a trouble at all. It is a safe place with so many things one can enjoy,” she added.
Jahani, who is accompanied by her daughters Mona, Mariam and Haya and her husband Mohammad, said among her favourites were the beach. “I also like Atlantis a lot, I love to come here for my vacations.”