By Angela Sharp, Travel Counsellors
Last year people had a lot of pent up cash so were happily spending on upgraded trips that perhaps they wouldn’t have normally taken (suites, overwater pool villas in the Maldives were almost impossible to find for example!) – and they travelled to places they wouldn’t normally have gone to, but choice was very limited!
This year (2022) is a very different story – prices have really climbed & those that travelled last year are quite shocked they can’t get the same holiday at similar pricing for this year – Maldives is a classic example of this, even without their key markets still not able to travel there (such as the Chinese). Plus new destinations opening have learned that they don’t need to sell “cheap” to attract tourists…….
However, for now, the top choices for UAE customers are:-
This remains a firm favourite, no.1 choice – social distancing in every sense & easy isolation (should the situation occur) is giving customers confidence to return time & again – plus many resorts have focused on families (with lots of new activities in their resort programmes) and enhanced kids clubs, plus new activities for adults in-resort to keep everyone occupied as customers prefer all inclusive packages that allow them full flexibility to do everything and anything during their stay without having to dip further into the wallet!
Seychelles & Mauritius
These gained popularity from those wanting beach holidays but already had enough of going to the Maldives! Mauritius is also far more friendly on the wallet than Maldives or Seychelles! All destinations not typically seen as “family” holiday destinations but now very much targeted towards everyone (a result of adjusting the customer due to covid!).
Zanzibar – this is an “easy” beach getaway for those wanting a Maldives holiday but not the budget!
(Kenya & Tanzania)
There’s been a lot of interest in safaris as customers see this as a “safe” holiday (again easy social distancing – to use one customer’s words “giraffes don’t get covid”!!!!!) & while it is not cheap, it’s the pent-up cash that is being spent on holidays that would not normally be considered when choice is limited.
Lapland (December 2022)
There was a lot of interest last year but enquiries came late (normal for the UAE) – now people are booking very early this year & lots of dates are already fully booked!
Interestingly, apart from Lapland, people seem to be planning less further ahead this year – many are waiting to see what else opens up around the world, particularly Asia (only Phuket is accessible for now) as last year everyone was heading to Europe & Georgia!
And finally staycations remain a firm favourite, particularly for February half-term – I honestly think people have just had enough of distance learning & want to be as confident as they can be that the kids can go back to school if they haven’t travelled overseas for the school break though, will save that headache for the Easter/Spring break!!!