Summer outbound travel from UAE grew 20% despite inflationary pressures: SNTTA
UAE residents continued to spend on overseas vacations, particularly destinations in Europe and the Far East
UAE residents continued to spend on holidays abroad this summer, defying all domestic inflationary factors, according to Sharjah National Travel & Tourist Agency (SNTTA), a major player in outbound travel business and member of the UAE-based Liberty Investment Company.
SNTTA, general sales agent (GSA) for over ten international airlines and transportation companies, reported 20 per cent growth this summer. The most popular destinations were Malaysia and Thailand in the Far East, and the United Kingdom, France and Germany in Europe. The key factors that governed the choice of destinations were costs, security and availability of halal meals.
“We continued to register robust year-on-year growth this summer, despite the inflation-driven negative factors,” said Zafar Imam, General Manager, SNTTA, Sharjah. “The signs are clear: UAE residents do not let anything come in the way of their vacations. We found that both Emirati and expatriate families maintained their lifestyle of annual vacations, some of them taking more than one vacation in a year.”
According to SNTTA statistics, more UAE families travelled overseas this summer for holidays than ever before, and the overall growth in retail sales was higher than the corresponding period last year.
“This indicates definite buoyancy in the UAE travel industry. Spurred by the overall positive sentiment, SNTTA has planned to open a number of new branches by the end of 2009, to meet the growing demand from travellers,” revealed Imam.
SNTTA disclosed the summer travel trends at the end of its 90-day “Fly Free Anywhere” summer promotion that gave retail customers the opportunity to win back their entire ticket amount. A total of 90 free tickets were given away, one for each day of the promotion. Winners of daily draws also had the double chance of entering the grand draw which offered two 2008 Chevrolet Epica cars. All draws were held under the supervision of the Sharjah Economic Department.
The Chevrolet Epica cars were won by Saeed Abdallah, a UAE national, and Haroun ur Rashid, a Bangladeshi national, at the grand draw held recently.
Abdullah, employed in a government department, said: "This is the first time I won such a big prize in my life. I appreciate the agency’s professional approach to the raffle draw. As a regular customer, I have always found that SNTTA offers professional service and value for money".
“I won after I booked a ticket to Bangladesh for Dh. 1750,” said Haroun, a sales merchandiser in a snacks company in Dubai. “The prize is very timely as I am going home on vacation at the end of this month.”
Fadi Shehadeh, a Jordanian national working as a general manager of a building materials company in Sharjah who won back the entire Dubai-Guangzhou-Dubai ticket money (Dh. 5704), said: “It was a pleasant surprise to win the whole amount back. I am a regular SNTTA customer, and this is the first time that I won something.”
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