Sharp Rise Witnessed in Holiday Bookings

Saturday, May 25, 2018

The Peninsula -- With Eid al-Fitr and summer holidays approaching closer, the demand for air travel bookings and holiday packages have started picking up momentum.


Qatari citizens and residents, who had to cancel their bookings last year due to the blockade against Qatar, do not want to take any chances this year, and are making their bookings for air tickets and hotels to tourist-friendly destinations, especially in Europe and Far East Asia. The early purchasing of tickets and accommodations is mainly to avoid last minute rush and inflated rates.


Inquiries to some travel agencies suggest that customers have started thronging offices across the country to buy travel packages much in advance. Turkey, UK, France, Malaysia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Oman and India are some of the most popular destinations, both among Qataris and expatriates. Apart from Istanbul, London, Paris, and other traditional leisure tour destinations, many people, especially the expatriates, are making their bookings for East European countries.


This is understandable for two important reason; one, Qatari citizens, who are frequent travelers for leisure, often prefer to explore new destinations, and expatriates are choosing destinations in East European countries for the fact these are relatively cheaper than London, Paris, Rome and other west European cities,” CEO of Orbit Travel, Azaraf Pananilath, told The Peninsula yesterday.  


Azaraf added: “Even a lot of non-Indians have started going to many big Indian cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru for leisure and shopping travel.”


He noted that Qatar Tourism Authority’s (QTA) recent decision to open an office in Mumbai will be a major boost in improving the traffic in this sector in the coming days.


Expanding its network around the globe, QTA, early this month, opened a representative office in Mumbai.


The 11th in a network of offices in the world, the office is set to tap into one of the fastest-growing outbound tourism markets in the world, second only to China.


Azaraf also noted that the steps by QTA will also make accessing Qatar easier for Indians who are seeking to experience Qatar’s luxury hospitality and unique cultural offerings, all while benefiting from the convenience of relatively short flights.


Yet, another senior official of a leading travel agency echoed similar views adding that the big rise in demand for tickets and travel packages for almost all tour and leisure destinations for the upcoming Eid and summer holidays is a “big sigh of relief” for his company which has lost nearly 40 percent of revenues that it used to make from Umrah packages.a