Dubai/ Abu Dhabi/ Fujairah: The much anticipated Eid holiday is back but is it being welcomed by residents with open arms?
The holiday has been tied up with the weekend, which gives employees in the private sector a five-day break. Schools have also been off for nearly two weeks, and so the majority of residents have been given a well-deserved break from their daily routine.
With so much spare time, can people afford to travel abroad for the holiday? Or do they have to economise and spend their time at home instead?
In a recent Gulf News poll, 50 per cent of respondents said they would be staying at home, 12 per cent were travelling abroad, 12 per cent were on vacation, 8 per cent were working, and 18 per cent said they did not know there were any holidays.
City Talk took to the streets and asked residents if they were planning to travel abroad or staying in the UAE for the Eid holiday? And whether the credit crunch would affect the way they would be spending their holiday this year?
Conor Connellan, a real estate agent from Ireland, 30, said: "I am not travelling at all for the Eid holidays because I only came to the country recently and am trying to save up. I do not think that I will be able to travel for Christmas either, as the cost of living is becoming very high because of the financial crisis."
Anjali Balan, a teacher from India, 37, said: "I am staying here for the majority of the holidays but will be travelling to Mussandam for a weekend break with my family. The financial situation has not affected me or my husband, and we are still able to have a comfortable holiday."
Ahmad Mohammad Al Saeed, an Egyptian security guard, 30, said: "We are not able to travel any time we want, there are specific timings for us, and I am only able to travel more or less once every two years. The economic crisis has affected me for sure, I was planning to apply for a loan but as you already know banks are not exactly in a good condition right now. The loan was for a house I am building back home, but I guess that will have to wait."
Mohammad Shadaz, a travel consultant, India, 31, said: "I will be here for the Eid holidays, so I will be enjoying Eid in the country with my family. The financial crunch has not affected me personally because I have a budget plan in place. I am however, travelling in February to India because my wife prefers to give birth back home."
Marvin De La Cruz, a Filipino real estate agent, 34, said: "I will be staying in the country for the holiday and am planning to go with my friends to Jebel Hafeet to camp. The financial crisis has affected me a lot because I have had to make several cutbacks. I would like to have a more luxurious holiday, but I cannot do that because the cost is too expensive. All I am concerned with now is my primary needs."
Tariq Mohammad Al Khateeb, a football coach from Palestine, 45, said: "I am planning to travel to Syria after the Eid holiday but unlike previous years I will not be flying but driving, just to be more economical. As for the Eid holiday itself, I will probably spend it with friends. We are not yet sure where but it will not be abroad for sure. I do not think that the economic downturn has affected people yet, most people have regular jobs and still earn the same money, but there is no doubt that the uncertainty has made people more economic in their spending and saving."
Mayatte Dungo, Philippines, 54, is spending the holidays in Abu Dhabi since tickets to the Philippines at this time cost up to Dh10,000.
"A friend of mine booked a ticket to the Philippines to go there during Eid and stay there until Christmas and due to booking the ticket a bit late, she was forced to pay Dh10,000. I cannot afford that at all. I plan to travel in June though and will book way in advance. The economic crisis has affected prices of commodities, everything has become so expensive."
Nabeel Abdul Aziz, an Iraqi consultant engineer in Fujairah said: "We do not know where we will go yet but I personally would not favour going to the busier emirates like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, not just from a cost point of view but also because it will be physically demanding for a family. I prefer instead to spend time here on the East Coast. I work in the construction industry which has been hit by the economic slowdown and work on our site has come to a halt. I think many people in the industry are concerned so people are being careful with money and thinking about their future."