DUBAI //The timing of Eid Al Fitr this year - during the school holidays when many people are abroad - means many holiday companies have not been as busy as in previous years.
"We are getting a lot of bookings around the Eid period for places like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Czech Republic," said Premjit Bangara from Sherif Travel.
"But with many people already out of the country because of the school holidays, it's not as busy as we have seen in the last few years."
He added that although many people had been attracted to the UK because of the Olympics, lots more were avoiding the Games and opting to go elsewhere in Europe.
"We're finding that people are going for France, Germany and Lisbon as an alternative."
Airlines are expecting a very busy holiday, but fierce competition is prompting most of them to reduce prices to popular destinations.
Europe and Asia are proving the most popular destinations for people planning to travel abroad for the holiday.
While travel agents expect many people are holding firm for last-minute discounts, some flights have been fully booked for weeks.
"The Eid period has always been a busy time for Emirates with a large volume of passengers travelling overseas to spend time with family and friends," said Badr Abbas, Emirates' vice president of commercial sales UAE.
"Outbound bookings from Dubai over this period are extremely strong to numerous destinations across our network, including the Middle East, Istanbul, Bangkok, Germany, London, Spain, Lisbon, India and Kuala Lumpur," he said.
Emirates is offering 20 per cent off flights to destinations in Europe, Africa the Middle East, Far East and the Indian subcontinent, with seats as low as Dh1,070 in economy class for a return flight from Dubai to Kuwait and Dh3,100 return in business from Dubai to Chennai, Kochi and Kozhikode in India.
"Emirates fares are developed based on a number of factors including product, destination, flight times and available seats at the time of booking," Mr Abbas said.
A flydubai spokeswoman said Eid Al Fitr was one of the busiest times of the year for the budget airline.
"Eid is one of our busiest seasons and this year is no different as travellers take advantage of the public holiday to jet away to cooler climates," she said.
"We have already seen bookings peak to a number of destinations, with Istanbul and Colombo in particular demand. With just a few seats left on flights to both cities, we advise passengers to book soon to avoid disappointment."
The airline is offering return tickets from Dubai to Colombo for Dh1,067, to Karachi for Dh805 and to Muscat for Dh472.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways' chief commercial officer, said the Abu-Dhabi-based carrier had a host of Ramadan rates, including economy class return tickets from the capital to New Delhi for Dh1,600, to London for Dh3,350 and to Paris for Dh4,240.
"The promotion is particularly exciting because of the range of destinations on offer, including cities in England, France, India, Germany, Malaysia, Switzerland, and the Seychelles," Mr Baumgartner said.