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Holiday bug bites people as nine-day Eid break announced

9 Jun 2024 Holiday bug bites people as nine-day break announced

Muscat – As Oman prepares for a nine-day Eid al Adha holiday, residents and citizens are planning vacations both in the country and abroad. Popular destinations such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Georgia and Turkey, alongside new options like Albania and Armenia, are attracting significant interest.

Travel agencies are actively tailoring holiday packages to meet the diverse preferences of their clientele. Vinod CG Pillai, Manager of Al Hashar Tourism and Travels, said, “With the extended break this Eid, we expect a high volume of international travel. Albania has become particularly appealing due to direct flights offered by SalamAir.”

European destinations remain desirable but are costly compared to countries in the Far East, especially during the Eid season when travel and accommodation prices typically surge. Despite the higher costs, destinations known for their rich cultural experiences, scenic landscapes and culinary delights continue to draw Omani and expatriate travellers.

Khalid Amri, a frequent traveller, expressed concern over steep airfares. “For example, the Muscat-Tbilisi (Georgia) fare in off season is approximately RO150. But during holiday season, it is more than RO300. The Turkey promotional fare was RO150, but during the Eid holiday, fares are more than RO230. It is good to plan in advance but we do not know the holiday dates until last minute.”

Travel experts like Sreedhu Nair from Travel Diaries recommend booking tickets and accommodations two to three months in advance to secure better deals and ensure visa availability. “Popular destinations remain the same – Malaysia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Thailand – although there is growing interest in destinations like Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as these provide easy visa procedures.”

Many have planned to take the opportunity to travel home. Ritika Suresh Pillai, a resident of Oman for the last 20 years, shared her travel plans saying, “Most of my family reside there and I plan to spend time with them.”

Many residents plan to celebrate Eid with local travels or staycations, engaging in traditional activities and visiting popular sites such as Safari World in Ibra, the Ain al Kasfa hot springs  and historical landmarks like Nizwa Fort. 

Sharing her plans to enjoy the Eid festivities locally, Rahma Mohammed al Harthi said she’ll visit cultural sites and participate in traditional meals and prayers with family.

This year’s Eid al Adha not only reflects the easing of travel restrictions but also a renewed confidence in safe travel contributing to a surge in holiday planning and international exploration.

(Contributed by Sneha Lijoy and Gopika Baburaj)

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