Tourist spend from Middle Eastern countries, including the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, jumped by eight per cent during pre-Ramadan holiday rush in April, with a 38 per cent rise in sales in the UK alone, according to tax-free shopping experts Global Blue.
However, the holy month is the busiest travel time of the year and new destinations have emerged to suit different types of travellers, according to a travel expert.
Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director of Wego Middle East, North Africa and India, says: “It’s the busiest travel time of the year and with travel preparations now well underway for Eid holiday travel, we examined new and trending destinations to suit every type of travel group – large, small and even solo.”
Wego.ae, an online travel marketplace in the Middle East, examines emerging Ramadan destinations for families, couples and singles, and suggests some new and exciting destinations to suit each type of traveller.
Families big and small
“Families more frequently select destinations that have a large scope of activities that will appeal to all ages. Many European cities – Munich, Paris, London – all fit the bill, with short flight times an added bonus,” Hmedan continues.
He said that the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is a regular family favourite, with shopping and halal dining options galore, along with nearby tropical island resorts such as Langkawi and the integrated family resorts in the Genting Highlands all within easy reach.
Best family destinations
Turkey has a great diversity, which is perfect for families. Hmedan suggested Trabzon on the stunning Black Sea coast in the northeast of Turkey.
He says: “A number of hotels are extremely kid-friendly, with large suites and fun activities. A stopover in Istanbul, also popular with families, is a must. Antalya mixes culture and history with exotic resorts that line sublime, deep blue waters. Serving as a gateway to the southern Mediterranean, it’s referred to as Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and a great family option.”
Romance and relaxation for two
Dubai is a great city for couples, with fabulous accommodation, vibrant dining and entertainment options, and many Ramadan deals on offer.
For something different, Hmedan recommends Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, referred to by Lonely Planet as ‘the architectural love child of Paris and Dubai’.
“Baku’s history and beautiful Caspian Sea coastline combine to create an incredibly romantic destination, great for couples,” Hmedan adds.
The Seychelles Islands are another idyllic tropical getaway, where couples can find bliss amongst sparkling seas, private, palm tree-lined beaches and luxurious beachfront hotels.
“The Seychelles are dramatically romantic and perfect for an unforgettable trip with the person closest to you,” says Hmedan.
The Egyptian resort town of Sharm el Sheikh is another great option, with easy flight connections and a variety of resort style hotels.
“Swimming along sandy beaches, relaxing in the sunshine or diving in the surrounding Ras Muhammad National Park – Sharm el Sheikh is popular with couples,” Hmedan notes. “The coastal town also has great shopping and very fine dining.”
“For singles, the options are endless,” says Hmedan. “Travelling alone has many advantages, albeit some destinations suit solo travel more than others.”
For the adventurous soul, head to Kathmandu. There’s no need to be a mountain climber to enjoy the colourful sights and sounds of the Nepali capital and it’s easy to make new friends with warm, welcoming locals or fellow travellers.
“Muscat is perfect for a quick, quiet getaway if you’re motivated to spend some alone time by the sea, wandering the ancient city forts or inhaling the crisp mountain air in the dramatic Hajar Mountains,” Hmedan suggests.
“Many Asian cities are also great for single travellers – Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore are easy to explore and offer a variety of accommodation types for singles to suit any budget,” Hmedan adds.
One size fits all
While matching destinations to suit individual types of travel can be obvious in some cases, there are some crossover destinations that suit singles, couples and families equally well.
Hmedan agrees: “South Africa, for example, is incredibly diverse and would happily entertain and engage adults as well as kids, with nearby safari camps, stunning Cradle Mountain, watersports and world-class dining.”
“Georgia, which emerged as a destination hotspot for Middle East travellers last year on Wego, offers romance for couples in the beautiful coastal town of Tbilisi, loads of things to do for families and is a great place to explore for singles. It fits all types of travelling styles,” he says in conclusion.