Sunday, July 18, 2021

UAE flights: Stranded Indian, Pakistani expats now eye travel via Qatar

Desperate to return to their jobs and homes in the UAE, stranded expatriates in South Asian countries are now eyeing Qatar as a quarantine option as inbound travel suspension into the Emirates continues.

A handful of UAE-based travel agents, with operations in Doha, have launched package deals for stranded residents in India, Khaleej Times has learnt. Similar package deals are also being planned for residents in other countries that face inbound travel suspensions imposed by the UAE, including Pakistan, said travel agents.

On July 12, Qatar's Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced the re-opening of its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers. Passengers must have taken the vaccine at least 14 days before their travel date, said Qatar Tourism.

Raheesh Babu, group COO of Musafir Travels, an online travel agency, explained: "Indian passport holders now enjoy on-arrival visa to Qatar. The passengers need to download the Qatari Ehteraz app and upload their information, including passport, PCR test result and hotel booking details. Once uploaded, passengers will receive pre-approval in seven to eight hours."

Babu said ever since Qatar has announced the revised list of regulation for its inbound travellers, the demand from stranded passengers have increased dramatically. "Also, we have an office in Qatar, so the operations for us are relatively easier," he added. Furthermore, given Qatar's proximity to the UAE and similar cultural inclination, UAE expatriates are more comfortable with the idea of quarantining in Qatar instead of countries like Armenia or Uzbekistan.

18/07/21 Dhanusha Gokulan/Khaleej Times

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