Thailand tops list for UAE summer travellers after Covid-19 rules dropped

Travel agent sees 185 per cent increase in bookings to the South-East Asia destination — with Maldives and Turkey also popular

Tourists walk on a beach on the Thai island of Phuket, which is set to see plenty of visitors from the UAE. AFP
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As thousands of UAE residents prepare to hop on a plane for their summer holidays, it seems many will be heading to Thailand.

Data from holiday bookings agent dnata Travel revealed the country is the most popular destination to visit from the UAE this summer, with a 185 per cent increase on bookings made for the same period in 2021.

It comes as the country removed all Covid-19-related entry rules this week, when it scrapped the need for incoming travellers to hold a Thailand Pass. The mandatory pre-travel registration previously required passengers to upload details of their vaccination status, as well as proof of medical insurance covering at least $10,000.

The country had already removed the need for vaccinated travellers to present a negative PCR test on arrival and is now allowing bars, pubs and karaoke clubs to extend their service hours beyond a previous mandate to close at midnight. In July, the requirement for mask-wearing in outdoor areas will also be lifted.

Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui are the most popular destinations in Thailand for UAE travellers.

The next most popular destinations for travel this summer are the Maldives, Turkey, Mauritius, the UK, Indonesia, Italy, the US, Spain and France, dnata Travel said.

It also revealed 64 per cent of customers had booked holidays abroad, while 34 per cent had opted for UAE staycations this summer.

"The top five holiday destinations for UAE travellers in 2022 have typically made up our top locations for international travel bookings pre-pandemic,” said Meerah Ketait, head of retail and leisure UAE at dnata Travel. “With more locations opening up to travellers this year and with eased restrictions, we have witnessed our 2021 summer holiday hotspots the Maldives and Turkey joined once again by ever-popular destinations Thailand, Mauritius and the UK.

"Thailand has risen quickly to become the top-choice international holiday destination for UAE travellers in summer 2022 since it reopened for tourism. Alongside the world-class resorts, experiences, food and abundance of natural attractions the country has to offer, cost-effective holiday offers across its cities and islands are extremely popular."

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Updated: June 23, 2022, 1:40 PM