Umrah demand in United Arab Emirates (UAE) has risen threefold compared to the same period in 2022. Umrah operators attribute this surge to the spring vacations coinciding with the first half of Ramadan.
Shebin Rasheed, CEO of Bait al Ateeq, a Hajj service, revealed that they have recorded a significant number of UAE residents going to Makkah for Umrah.
He stated that they are dealing with three times more pilgrims from UAE and many families want to take their children with them because of the school holidays. Shebin further claimed that many airlines, including Emirates, Flydubai, Air Arabia, and Flynas, are offering good rates for Umrah to keep up with the demand. However, airfares are likely to increase during Ramadan.
According to Shebin, Saudi Arabia lifting COVID-19 restrictions is also among the factors behind the increase in travel demand.
Earlier, Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais, Imam-e-Kaabah, declared that the two holy mosques are ready to welcome millions of pilgrims during Ramadan.
A travel agent, Sudheesh, reported a price increase in Umrah packages due to excessive traffic, which is outnumbering the supply of flights, transport, and accommodation.
Hike in Airfares
As Ramadan approaches, airfares between UAE and Saudi Arabia have started to increase. The fares are expected to reach their peak before and during the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.
Sharjah-based Air Arabia has raised its fares for the Jeddah and Madinah routes. Currently, tickets to Jeddah cost AED 1,336 and tickets to Madinah cost AED 1,536. This is a huge increase compared to January and February when tickets to Jeddah were priced at roughly AED 800-900 and to Madinah approximately AED 1,100.
Dubai’s Emirates has even more expensive tickets. Its airfare to Jeddah is AED 2,385 and to Madinah, it is AED 2,125.