Monday, August 30, 2021

India-UAE travel set for take-off after tourist visa announcement

Travel from India to the UAE is expected to take off in a big way after the announcement by the Gulf country to open tourist visa applications for fully inoculated travellers, according to industry executives.

Aside from boosting the spirits of cricket fans across the South Asian country, the announcement by the UAE authorities is also expected to lead the UAE travel market recovery to reach north of 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels, fuelled by the Expo 2020, Indian Premier League (IPL) and T-20 World Cup.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) announced on Sunday that the UAE is to open tourist visa applications for people from all countries, as long as they have been fully inoculated by one of the World Health Organisation (WHO)-approved Covid-19 vaccines.

Online travel aggregators such as Cleartrip have reported a 19 percent jump in bookings to the UAE and a 32 percent jump in website traffic following the announcement.

“The biggest winners are Emirates and Indian carriers IndiGo and Air India Express as people research their options following the latest news,” Atish Thapa, business head - Middle East at Cleartrip, told Arabian Business.

“Our website traffic has grown by 32 percent, particularly to our TravelSafe page, where travellers can get all related information,” Thapa said.

Thapa, however, said unlike other times, the air fares have not surged, and are maintained at the same levels as before the announcement.

“So we expect more travel going forward,” said the senior executive of Cleartrip, which has a major presence in the Middle East and India.

30/08/21 James Mathew/Arabian Business

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