Air ticket and hotel bookings for the upcoming Hindu festivals of Dussehra and Diwali have already begun, with airfares likely to double in October.
Local travel agents told Khaleej Times that they have begun receiving inquiries from India, with some hotels in Bur Dubai already reporting 100 per cent booking during the festival days.
The Hindu festival of Diwali will begin on October 24, while Dussehra will be celebrated from October 5 in India. Schools will be closed for around two weeks during the festivals.
“The airfares will at least double in October”, says Avinash Adnani, managing director of Pluto Travels. “We are currently in August, but there are hotels in Bur Dubai which are sold out completely for October.
Since we are not anticipating an increase in airline capacity on UAE-India routes in the coming months, and a lot of people will travel to UAE, airfares and hotel bookings are bound to go up.
We expect October to be a bumper month. People who book late will find it very difficult to get a good deal; so people should start booking now.”
Adnani added that during the lean days of September 10 to 15, airfares average Dh1,000-Dh1,200 on Mumbai and Delhi routes. “But fares will cross Dh2,000 in October during the festival holidays”, he notes.
Air traffic between India and the UAE is usually busy throughout the year, and it reaches its peak during the holiday seasons in the UAE and India. According to Dubai International Airport’s latest data for the first half of 2022, India remains the top destination country by passenger numbers for DXB, with traffic reaching four million passengers.
These numbers are driven primarily by top city destinations such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad. As many as 726,000 passengers travelled between Dubai and Mumbai during the period of January-June 2022.
TP Sudheesh, general manager of Deira Tours and Travels, confirmed that they have also been receiving inquiries for bookings during the Hindu festival season in October.
“During the holidays in India, people flock to the UAE for vacations and sightseeing as it is one of the best options available: due to easy visa availability, great tourist spots and favourable climate conditions in October,” said Sudheesh.
The majority of passenger traffic into the UAE will come from Tier 1 and 2 cities of India, most of which are connected to the UAE through budget carriers, he added.
Avinash Adnani of Pluto Travels expects most of the passengers to come from the North Indian cities where the hugely popular Diwali festival is celebrated.
“Generally, more people tend to travel from North India due to school and public sector holidays during the festivals. Sometimes, people from Gujarat and other cities travel to Mumbai first and then to Dubai as seats are not available during this holiday break,” he added.
In addition to family travel, Adnani sees corporate group travel also picking up in October.