Lifestyle

The fast and the smooth: Ramadan travel is big business this year

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The Moroccan sales manager Madiha Zoubiri is like many Abu Dhabi residents. She prefers not to travel during Ramadan. “My concept of a holiday is to take a break from everything related to real life,” she says. “If I was fasting, I wouldn’t be able to do all of the activities I would like to do as a tourist, like sightseeing, visiting museums, taking long walks, or going to the beach.”

This year, however, the Holy Month falls during the end-of-school summer period – a traditionally busy time for travel – and tourism providers are expecting an increase in the number of guests observing Ramadan. While many people prefer the comfort of home during this time – with the exception of those visiting Saudi Arabia for Umrah – this year is likely to be different, and airlines, hotels and even tourism authorities are offering flexible hours and meal times, festivals and cultural events to entice guests.

The Muslim travel market was estimated to be worth US$140 billion (Dh514.21bn) last year – accounting for about 13 per cent of the global travel total – and is expected to grow to $200 billion by 2020. Travellers from the GCC accounted for 37 per cent of the global spend.

Malaysia, Turkey and the UAE are the top three halal destinations for 2014, according to a survey by travel authority Crescentrating.

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The fast and the smooth: Ramadan travel is big business this year

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