Late-summer Dubai holiday bookings surge as UK travellers expect UAE to be on green list

: UK traffic light system for travel explained

UK travellers are planning late-summer holidays in Dubai in the hope
that the UAE will be placed on the country’s green list, according to the latest booking data.

Flight bookings from the UK to Dubai more than doubled for the last week of August this year, according to travel analyst ForwardKeys.

The UK has a green, amber and red set of categories that govern trips abroad and the need to quarantine on return as part of its pandemic response.

Olivier Ponti, of
ForwardKeys, said the UAE’s red list status had
been a deterrent to travel because Britons returning from Dubai have to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel at an average
cost of £1,750 (Dh9,120).

We think the market expects that the UAE won’t be on the red list when it gets to that point in the summer

Olivier Ponti, ForwardKeys

ForwardKeys analysed reservations
data between the UK and Dubai for the
summer months and found a significant increase
in bookings in the final week.

“Currently, air tickets issued for summer (
June 1 –
August 31) travel from the UK to Dubai are just 19.8per cent of 2019 levels,” Mr Ponti said.

“However, it appears there is confidence in the market that the UAE will not continue to be a red list destination throughout the period, because bookings for the last week of August are currently at 48.7per cent of 2019 levels.”

Mr Ponti said
there were a number of factors behind the increase in the number of bookings.

“It’s right at the end of the summer holidays in the UK when there’s a bank holiday weekend, at a time when the summer’s getting slightly less hot, and we think the market expects that the UAE won’t be on the red list when it gets to that point in the summer,” he said.

The UAE remains a popular destination for Brits looking for warmer weather. Antonie Robertson / The National

Flight Centre UK reported its strongest day for booking enquiries so far this year last week, with the weekly averages
up 45 per cent compared with
March and April.

Yvonne Hobden, head of product and retail marketing at Flight Centre UK, told Travel Weekly that the enquiries for the UAE saw “considerable increase in the past month”.

Last month, Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths said it was
in talks to put the UAE back on the UK’s
green list.

“We have made very strong representation to the British government about the credibility of the numbers here and the way we are handling everything,” Mr Griffiths said.

“There are countries on the green list that we believe haven’t taken the kind of care and number of measures like we have in Dubai to keep everyone safe.”

Earlier this month, Mansoor Abulhoul, the A
mbassador of the UAE to the UK, said he hoped
the
UAE’s status would
be reconsidered at the earliest
.

“Summer is a key season for Emiratis and the hundreds of thousands of Britons living in the UAE to visit the UK,” he said.

“We hope to re-connect the families and friends separated by the pandemic, as well as resume the vital trade and tourism links between our countries
.”

The UK introduced a traffic light system for international travel on May 17, which puts countries on either a green, amber or red list and tailors the level of travel restrictions accordingly.

Passengers who have been in countries on the
red list

10 days before departure are required to enter hotel quarantine. Only British and Irish nationals, and those with resident rights, are allowed to travel to England from these countries.

Travellers from both amber and green countries must show a negative Covid-19 test before departure – but only amber passengers are required to isolate at home for 10 days.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the lists would be reviewed regularly, with the next update due on Thursday
, June 3.