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April 7, 2023

UAE Travellers Continue to Visit France for Ramadan Holiday Trips

UAE residents remain loyal to France, as they continue planning their trips there, despite the country dealing with major disruptions and protests.

According to UAE travel agencies and airlines, fewer to no cancellations due to protests in France have been made recently, as UAE travellers have been advised to avoid cities where protests are evolving, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“There have been no cancellations or re-bookings – we have a tour group of 150 UAE residents in France at the moment. Some marches are happening in the streets of Paris, but tour managers accompany them on the ground. We have tours in April, June, and the summer months,” an official with a leading Dubai-based travel agency said.

Due to pension protests, which are a response to the government’s decision to raise the minimum age for a pension from 62 to 64, rail transport, as well as flights from Paris have been affected.

Similarly, to France, Germany is also dealing with nationwide protests, as workers in the transport sector have walked out of their workplaces in an effort to achieve negotiation on better salary and work conditions. However, after two days of disruptions, Emirates airlines and Etihad Airways have returned their flights to Germany.

During this two-day period, two flights between Dubai and Munich were cancelled in addition to three flights to and from Frankfurt. These strikes have affected flights from eight airports, including those in Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg, with nearly 380,000 travellers being unable to travel on Monday alone.

While protests in France and Germany have caused disruptions and potentially can affect arrivals, fares can also impact the industry as air travel is considered relatively expensive from the United Arab Emirates to France.

Direct Economy flights from Dubai to Paris currently cost €352 or Dh 3,805 for departure on April 24 and return on April 30, which can be related to Eid breaks. Flight tickets to Nice stand at Dh 3,675 (€331) and Dh4,685 (€422) to Lyon.

Regardless of challenges related to airlines, prices and disruptions, the most challenging factor about travelling to France for UAE nationals remains obtaining a tourist Schengen visa, due to fewer appointment slots.

Those who wish to apply for a visa have to check websites frequently if there are any cancelled appointments. The waiting period can be frustrating for UAE travellers, as it can take from weeks to months. Demand for Schengen visas is especially high during the Ramadan and Eid breaks. In general, the demand to visit Europe by UAE nationals has surged in the fourth quarter of 2022.

>> France Visa Application Requirements, Fees And Guidelines