Residents of the United Arab Emirates are gearing up for the last long weekend of the year, which comes with the official holiday for the Prophet’s Birthday on Friday, 29 September 2023, followed by the weekend. According to Wego‘s research, employees of both the private and public sectors will be getting this holiday, while Sharjah government employees will get a four-day break as their official holiday to mark the occasion is Thursday, 28 September.
As the extended weekend looms just around the corner, individuals are actively exploring travel opportunities to seize a well-deserved short getaway. Meanwhile, others are pursuing spiritual fulfillment by embarking on the voluntary pilgrimage known as Umrah.
A surge in Umrah demand
Travel experts report a substantial surge in demand for Umrah packages, with many residents expressing a deep-seated desire to visit the sacred cities of Makkah and Madinah during this extended break. Unlike the obligatory Hajj, Umrah offers flexibility as it can be undertaken at any time of the year.
One Dubai-based travel agent observed, “The long weekend is a perfect opportunity for those who want to perform Umrah and get closer to Allah. We have seen a surge in bookings for Umrah packages, especially from families and groups. The prices vary depending on the hotel and flight options, but they range from AED 2,500 to AED 4,000 per person.”
For UAE residents, the journey to the holy cities can be undertaken by bus or flight, with the latter being the preferred choice due to limited extended weekends. Additionally, UAE residents can conveniently apply for an Umrah e-visa, which is issued within minutes and valid for a year, allowing for multiple entries. For detailed information on obtaining an Umrah Visa from the UAE, please refer to our dedicated article on the subject.
Vacation packages in high demand
With the extended weekend beckoning, industry experts are witnessing a surge in travel inquiries and bookings. Those seeking to explore destinations for a mini-vacation now have a myriad of options at their disposal. Among the enticing choices for flights and hotel deals during the long weekend, popular destinations include Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Kenya.
These destinations hold particular appeal for UAE residents owing to their proximity, affordability, and diverse attractions. Furthermore, residents favor destinations offering visa-free access, eliminating potential travel hassles during their quick getaways. Uzbekistan, notably, has witnessed a significant rise in popularity among UAE residents, largely attributed to its recent introduction of visa-free travel options for them.
Flight deals for the long weekend
In response to the surging demand, numerous airlines and travel agencies have rolled out enticing offers and deals on flights and vacation packages tailored specifically for the upcoming extended weekend. These exclusive deals are available for travel only during this period. You can find the best deals for your travel on Wego.
Here are some of the top flight options to various destinations during this period, with prices accurate at the time of writing, subject to change:
- Dubai – Baku, Azerbaijan: Direct and connecting flights available, starting at AED 669
- Dubai – Istanbul, Turkey: Direct and connecting flights available, starting at AED 615
- Sharjah – Mumbai, India: Direct and connecting flights available, starting at AED 267
- Dubai – New Delhi, India: Direct and connecting flights available, starting at AED 328
- Sharjah – Islamabad, Pakistan: Direct and connecting flights available, starting at AED 320
- Abu Dhabi – Colombo, Sri Lanka: Direct and connecting flights available, starting at AED 596
- Dubai – Male, Maldives: Direct and connecting flights available, starting at AED 457
Whether embarking on a sacred pilgrimage or seeking leisurely adventures, the anticipation among UAE residents is palpable as they prepare to make the most of the last extended weekend of 2023.