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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Northern Emirates expect Eid boom as residents set to enjoy a break closer to home

Expensive holidays abroad encourage families to consider staycations

A surfer hits the waves off Snoopy Island in Al Aqah, Fujairah. Satish Kumar / The National
A surfer hits the waves off Snoopy Island in Al Aqah, Fujairah. Satish Kumar / The National

Hotels and tour companies in the Northern Emirates are expecting a staycation boom this month as many residents choose to spend the Eid break closer to home rather than jet abroad.

Figures released by digital marketing platform SEMrush have recorded 200,000 online searches for domestic holidays relating to Eid vacations are made by UAE residents.

That figure is expected to increase annually with forecasts by the World Travel and Tourism Council revealing that domestic tourism spend will grow from the current $10 billion (Dh36.7bn) level to $15bn by 2027.

Domestic UAE travel spend generated 24 per cent of direct travel and tourism GDP last year, generating huge economic impact for the country’s constantly maturing tourism sector.

Tarek Madanat, cluster director of sales and marketing for Fairmont Ajman and Fairmont Fujairah beach resorts, said many families are seeking to escape the city but avoid having to contending with packed airports and high ticket prices.

“Destinations like Fujairah and Ajman are really desirable to families and couples who are looking to get away for the weekend without having to travel internationally,” he said.

“You can go to places like The Palm in Dubai but it’s not the same as travelling to the Northern Emirates. Even the drive here with the picturesque mountains in the background immediately makes you feel like you are getting away from the hassle of life in the city.”

Mr Madanat said that the properties in Ajman and Fujairah were experiencing an increase in the number of visitors who have booked stays over the Eid Al Adha weekend.

“This year Eid happens to fall on a long weekend, which means that we are going to benefit from a four-day break,” he said.

There are other factors at play, other than the Eid weekend, when it comes to an increase in the number of staycations in the Northern Emirates said Mr Madanat.

“It is usually the case that people cut back on international travel when the global economy is struggling,” he said.

“People tend to spend less but they still want need a holiday or a break, so it stands to reason that they look at the options that are available to them in driving distance.”

Iftikhar Hamdani, cluster general manager for Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman, Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman and Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche, said he has already noticed an upsurge in the number of UAE residents staying at his properties.

“Staycations are part of the UAE lifestyle now as residents feel the need to unwind from their busy lifestyle, without necessarily travelling to another country,” he said.

“In terms of location, Ajman is just a 30-minute drive away from the centre of Dubai.”

He said that he is expecting full occupancy at the hotels, during Eid, with levels already at 80 per cent.

Adam Zeidan, corporate communications manager for SEMrush, said multibillion dollar investments in theme parks, tourism attractions, hotels and the development of heritage and culture areas across all seven emirates is appealing to residents looking to spend their budgets on days out and activities rather than hotels and flights abroad.

“With the vast majority of the UAE’s nine million population being expatriates, the initiatives to expand the tourism sector with attractive new offerings may yet entice many expat residents to explore cost effective holiday options inside the UAE, especially for those with families,” said Mr Zeidan.

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Read more:

Eid Al Adha: 12 of the best hotel deals from the UAE and further afield

UAE tourism boost as hotel fee reductions encourage growth and Airbnb popularity surges

Four staycation deals in the UAE for 2018