Eid Al Fitr break set to kick off travel season
Travel from the United Arab Emirates to the UK is set to reach unprecedented heights over the Eid Al Fitr holiday once England scraps Covid-19 testing for fully vaccinated passengers.
Travel agents say demand is expected to skyrocket after February 11, when existing restrictions in the UK are eased. Additionally, British expats, who have endured two tumultuous years, hope to return home without complications this year.
Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the easing of travel restrictions, the details of which were confirmed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
He tweeted: “From 4am on February 11 and in time for the mid-term break, eligible fully vaccinated passengers arriving in the UK will no longer have to take a lateral flow test after the arrival. This means that after months of pre-departure testing, post-arrival testing, self-isolation, extra expense, everything that fully vaccinated people will now have to do when they travel to the UK, is to check their status via a passenger locator form. .”
Shapps said the decision will ensure stability in the sector throughout 2022. This decision also bodes well for citizens and residents of the UAE.
Rick Donnelly, a British expat in Dubai, said his plans to return home have been in flux since March 2020.
“I haven’t seen my family for a while now, and it’s been very frustrating. Last Christmas, I took my mum to Dubai instead of going there. I plan to fly home for the summer this year and I hope there are no sudden changes in the regulations there,” he said.
Eid Al Fitr break to kick off the season
Emily Jenkins, UAE leisure manager at dnata Travel, said Khaleej Times: “Following past trends, we expect the upcoming mid-term break to prove popular for travelers from the UAE looking to visit the UK for a vacation or to catch up with friends and family.”
“We expect the Eid Al Fitr holiday to really kick off the summer travel season in the UK, which we believe will be incredibly popular with travelers from the UAE this year,” a- she added.
Despite changes in traveler requirements, Jenkins said travel to the UK – and London, in particular – continued to be an integral part of the company’s day-to-day operations.
“With the impressive UAE vaccination campaign, our residents have seen the number of destinations open to explore increase significantly. We expect that for a popular destination like the UK, as travel rules are relaxed, it will only intensify demand,” she said.
Who is excited to travel to the UK?
“UAE travelers have been incredibly adaptable to the ever-changing regulations and requirements needed to travel. However, we also understand that our customers look forward to more hassle-free vacations in the future,” Jenkins said.
Hossam Youssef, the founder of Dubai-based travel agency Adrenaline Travels, said: “We are very confident that 2022 is the start of a strong recovery, especially in business travel. With UK leisure travel, we expect 2019 levels to return in spring and summer, if not longer.
He said the UK had already lost two tourist summers, posing a big challenge for travelers from the UAE.
“Strict travel rules in the past had caused a huge drop in demand. The frequently changed restrictions have delayed any recovery in the tourism sector and caused the UK to lag behind other European destinations. Travelers from the UAE have been cautious and have instead visited other destinations,” Youssef said.
What visitors can expect in the UK
Sophia Tamang, Deputy General Manager of Adrenaline Travels, said Khaleej times that London offers some of the “most iconic sights” in the world.
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“London offers a variety of benefits to regular travelers as it is a shopper’s paradise, exploration of the countryside has accelerated,” she said. “The English countryside has a certain charm with its national parks, lakes and mountains that many UAE nationals prefer. Restrictions are being lifted, just in time for the travel industry to prepare for spring break and we have already started booking guests for the coming month.
According to Tamang, leisure travel will take priority. “The UK will be a strong competitor for travelers as it has high standards for safety and health. Also, the availability of halal food options and the convenience of communicating in a common language (English) is what our clientele prefers. We also see the need for many travelers to combine the UK and Ireland on their trips this year,” she said.