By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: Despite the high prices of airline tickets, citizens and residents opted to pay the skyrocketing ticket fares to spend Eid Al-Fitr holidays abroad. Travel agencies confirmed to Kuwait Times that many people booked and bought tickets during the past few days, which contributed to an increase of more than 300 percent. The tourism and travel offices said the turnout was due to a number of factors. Many people traveled to see their families, while some decided to change their environment and explore the new direct destinations. The top destinations are Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, the UK, and other European countries.
Ibrahim Raafat, a travel agent, indicated that the turnout rate reached about 90 percent, coinciding with the opening of new destinations by local airlines in the past few years. “Travelers prefer to travel to countries that are close to Kuwait, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The average price of a ticket is KD 200,” he said. He explained that the average price of a ticket to Dubai was KD 280; KD 220 to Jeddah; KD 350 to Istanbul; and KD 300 to Cairo, noting that many travelers went to European countries such as London, Geneva, and Spain.
“Many people traveled to London, Cairo, and Dubai during Eid. The demand for Istanbul declined after the recent earthquake. Airline ticket prices rose by more than 300 percent (for some destinations) during this holiday. The ticket to London was about KD 690, compared to KD 190 a few weeks ago. Also, the ticket to Cairo reached KD 270, compared to KD 50 to KD 70 before the festive season. Other nearby destinations (within the GCC) reached up to KD 200,” Adnan Hamadi told the Kuwait Times. He indicated that most tourists traveled to Jeddah from Kuwait after the Saudi government launched the online tourist visa for foreigners.
Earlier, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) expected that travelers to and from Kuwait International Airport would reach 220,000 passengers during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, specifically from Thursday to April 25. Deputy Director General for Planning and Projects Affairs Saad Al-Otaibi confirmed the readiness of the DGCA and all its operational sectors for the Eid holiday, in cooperation with all governmental and non-governmental agencies operating at Kuwait International Airport. The most traveled destinations during the Eid holidays are Dubai, Istanbul, Cairo, and Doha. He pointed out that the expected travel movement during the same period is estimated at 110,000 departing and 110,000 arriving. Up to 1,800 flights will be operated.