SM Ayaz Zakir
Out of 179 visa-free destinations they can travel to, European countries — like Switzerland, France, Iceland, Italy, and Germany — are among Emiratis’ most favourite, industry experts said.
“Far East destinations like Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea are also preferred. They also love to spend a vacation in cities like New York, London and Montreal. The Maldives is also very popular,” Raheesh Babu, COO of Musafir.com, told Khaleej Times.
“We also see increasing preferences for combinations of Europe and US destinations with cruise packages,” added Babu.
The UAE passport has been ranked the 12th most powerful in the world on the Henleys Passport Index, with holders granted visa-free travel to 179 countries.
Just as the summer holidays begin, Emiratis have been given more destination options. Early this month, a visa-free travel agreement was signed between the UAE and Azerbaijan, allowing nationals to explore the Caucasian country’s natural beauty, lively culture, and distinctive architecture — without having to worry about travel permits.
“Emirati nationals do not require a visa to travel to Europe for brief periods for leisure, business, transit, visiting relatives, or getting medical care. However, when travelling to the UK, one needs to fill out an electronic visa waiver and the visa can be expected within a day,” said Mir Wasim Raja, manager for MICE and holidays at Galadari Brothers International Travel Services.
Explaining the factors that Emirati travellers usually consider when picking a country to visit, experts say they mostly go for those where competitive airfares are offered; direct flights are possible; and destinations where luxurious resorts and accommodations are available.
“Among the primary choices are places with cooler climates, family-friendly destinations, luxury experiences, shopping venues, wellness packages, cruise experiences with beaches, and scenic beauty and good food,” said Subair Thekepurathvalappil, senior manager for inbound and outbound operations at Regal Tours Worldwide.
With such a powerful passport, UAE nationals can easily explore the world — whether they are looking to unwind on exotic beaches, indulge in culinary pleasures, or immerse themselves in rich history and tradition.