Shops and tour agents brace for Eid Al Adha holiday rush

Workers in the public sector will get five days off for the religious holiday, from Sunday, September 11. The private sector will get three days off, returning on Wednesday, September 14.
A YouGov poll shows that 43 per cent of UAE residents are planning to get away during Eid Al Adha. Silvia Razgova / The National
A YouGov poll shows that 43 per cent of UAE residents are planning to get away during Eid Al Adha. Silvia Razgova / The National

DUBAI // Retailers are expecting a bumper start to next week with the announcement of long Eid Al Adha holidays for the public and private sectors.

Workers in the public sector will have five days off for the religious holiday, from Sunday, September 11, returning to work on Sunday, September 18.

Those in the private sector will have three days off, returning on Wednesday, September 14.

Many people are expected to take advantage of the long break to travel abroad on last-minute deals, with airports likely to be very busy.

Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer for Jacky’s Electronics, said retailers were expecting to be extremely busy during Eid.

“I think a lot of retailers were certainly anticipating a long break for Eid and that was certainly reflected with new malls like Barsha City Centre opening in time for next week,” he said.

“It will be busy as the schools have restarted, so most people are back from their summer holidays.”

With the private sector given three days off, the initial few days are expected to be the busiest.

“The weather is still pretty hot outside, so the malls will be popular destinations for people,” he said.

“We tend to find that families will spend more once they know they will have some free time together.”

Although tourists from other GCC countries are regular visitors to the UAE during Eid holidays, it is not certain how much of an impact they will have this time.

“It’s not clear how many people from Saudi will visit the UAE as they may still be on their summer vacations,” said Mr Panjabi.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority said private schools in Dubai would be shut from September 11 to 15.

“Schools will be closed for Eid holidays from September 11 to 15, reopening on September 18,” the KHDA said on twitter.

Private schools in Abu Dhabi follow the public school schedule and were also expected to be closed over the same period.

The holiday was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid following approval in a Cabinet meeting chaired by the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai on Sunday.

Normal working hours for the public sector will resume on September 18, he said on his official Twitter account.

Arafat Day, the day before Eid Al Adha, is also traditionally a public holiday in the UAE.

A YouGov poll showed that 43 per cent of UAE residents were planning to get away during Eid Al Adha.

Premjit Bangara, general manager of Sharaf Travel in Dubai, said travel agents were braced for a flurry of last-minute bookings in the run up to the weekend.

“We’re seeing interest in Georgia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Oman, as well as Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah for staycations,” he said, adding that he expected more people to opt for breaks closer to home.

“This time of year many people will be loathe to travel again as they have just returned from long summer breaks.

“In that respect we expect an increase in interest for staycations in the UAE.”

But there were deals available for bargain-hunters, with a return ticket to London selling for Dh1,650.

“The rule, as ever, is to book early to get the cheaper fares but this year it’s a little different with it being so close to the end of the summer season.

“As a result you may see airlines cutting fares if they can’t fill seats over the next week or so.”

nhanif@thenational.ae

Published: September 4, 2016 04:00 AM

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