The reduction in the cost of flights, the expansion and redistribution of tourist preferences provoked a sharp increase in demand for organized tours in the UAE. Sales increased by 20-40%. Many tourists are now trying to move the New Year holiday to the second half of December, thus hoping to reduce the travel budget by 30–50%.
Sales of tours in the UAE during the period November 8–14 exceeded the previous seven days (1 -7 November) by 41%, compared to the same period last year, the growth was 46%. Such data is provided by Travelata.ru, noting that such surges are not observed in other areas. Oleg Kozyrev, marketing director of Travelata.ru, considers the decision to cancel pandemic restrictions by the authorities of the Emirates, which became known on the Russian market on November 8, as a stimulating factor. “Until recently, a PCR test was required to enter the country and there was still a need to use medical masks, which are now only needed to visit hospitals and clinics,” he says. Fun & Sun has seen a notable increase in UAE tour sales in recent days, up 20% over the past two weeks.
Tour operators have also launched their own charter flights, she says. Similar explanations are given in Anex Tour, explaining that the abolition of pandemic restrictions always has a positive effect on travelers, but the expansion of flight programs makes holidays more profitable for tourists. The UAE is now the leading destination, in particular for the New Year holidays, the company says. Tez Tour notes that sales of tours to the country are twice the level of last year, while in the case of Egypt, the figure has not changed significantly.
According to Travelata.ru, the average check for booking in the UAE is now 158.5 thousand rubles, which is 35% more than the same indicator last year. But bookings really fell in price: when planning a vacation in the Emirates for September-October, Russians spent an average of 170.7 thousand rubles, for the May holidays – 194.2 thousand rubles. Dmitry Gorin, vice-president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, explains that price correction due to cheaper tickets has taken place on all popular destinations with a large transportation capacity. According to his estimates, on average, since the summer, flight prices have decreased by 25%.
Mr. Gorin points out that in the nine months of the year, a total of 743,000 Russians flew direct flights to the UAE, of which 540 thousand are classic tourists. The most popular UAE resort in Travelata.ru is Dubai, which forms 54% of bookings, Sharjah is in second place (16%), and Ras Al Khaimah is in third (10%).
OnlineTur representative .ru Igor Blinov points out that the volume of bookings for the second half of December with a return before the New Year holidays is now four times higher than the same period last year. The expert calls such a pronounced dynamics for the off-season unusual, linking it with the high cost of rest during the holidays. “Many clients say that they want to celebrate the holidays at sea and save money, in most hotels a festive atmosphere has already been created in mid-December,” says Mr. Blinov. The expert cites as an example a tour to a particular hotel, which costs 198 thousand rubles with a return on December 30, and 370 thousand rubles after January 1. On average, the difference in price, according to his calculations, is 30–50%.
Daria Domostroyeva speaks of active sales not only for December, but also for the period after the New Year holidays, which was traditionally considered dead season. She attributes this to the fact that many travelers have switched to more flexible work schedules and become less tied to holidays.
Anex Tour adds that bookings are now generally active due to the implementation demand in previously inaccessible directions. Thus, the top five countries in terms of sales include Thailand, which was practically not represented in the mass market last year due to the lack of flights and severe pandemic restrictions. Also Anex Tour clients actively fly to Sri Lanka and India. The return to the mass tourism market of popular destinations in Southeast Asia, which were closed to tourists at the height of the pandemic, really began only a few weeks ago.