Post reopening rush to UAE sends spot airfares soaring



NEW DELHI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is witnessing a surge in demand for travel from India after reopening its borders for fully vaccinated travellers (Covishield in India’s case) since August 30. Airfares have up to doubled till September 10.
Apart from pent up demand for tourism, a host of mega events including IPL 2021 in the UAE from September 19, Dubai Expo 2020 from October 1 and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 from October 17 have led to a sharp rise in travel there. While the T20 final is in Dubai on November 14, the India-Pakistan fixture at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on October 24 is bound to sizzle the desert.
Abu Dhabi on Thursday announced that fully vaccinated tourists (Covishield in India’s case) arriving in city from Sunday (September 5) will not need to quarantine. Apart from a pre-departure RT-PCR test, fully jabbed tourists will need to take another test on arrival in Abu Dhabi and then after a certain number of days.
Due to all these factors, leading Delhi-based travel agent Anil Kalsi said “flights to Dubai are full.” Dubai schools are reopening by September 10 which is also leading to the rush, said a senior airline official.
Travel portal ixigo says average return fares from Indian metros to the UAE have upto doubled in the first 10 days of this month (upto September 10), from the spot fares seen between April 1 and 10, 2021. Delhi-Dubai-Delhi has gone up from Rs 16,233 then to Rs 30,261 now; Mumbai-Dubai-Mumbai has risen from Rs 15,059 to Rs 29,471; Bengaluru-Dubai-Bengaluru from Rs 17,778 to 31,942 and Hyderabad-Dubai-Hyderabad from Rs 17,029 to Rs 31,276, says ixigo for spot fares upto September 10. “Fares for bookings made 15-20 days in advance for travel towards the end of September will be 30-35% less than the (current spot) fares,” it said.
UAE, the biggest international destination for Indian travellers, had imposed restrictions from April-end during the deadly second Covid wave and is now lifting the same gradually. The biggest opening came last week with UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority announcing that from August 30, application for tourist visas will be open to people from all countries if that they are fully vaccinated with one of the WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccines.
Abu Dhabi government media office site on Thursday announced removal of quarantine for vaccinated (with WHO-recognised jabs) from Sunday (September 5).
“Before travelling, vaccinated tourists must verify their vaccination certificate via the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) website or app. Before boarding, they need to present a negative PCR test result received within 48 hours of departure. Vaccinated tourists arriving from green list destinations must take a PCR test on arrival, and another on day 6, if staying in the emirate. When arriving from other destinations they must take a PCR test on arrival, and further tests on day 4 and day 8, if staying in the emirate. The protocol applies to fully vaccinated tourists who have received a WHO approved vaccine and who are aged 16 years and above,” it said.



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