Most of us seek sunny destinations to soak in the winter sun. After all, who doesn’t want a bit of Vitamin D when winter chills and draughts set in? The UAE seems to be a popular destination for Irish couples and families — in line with other regions that are high-on-the-sun.
Trade the winter chills for UAE’s warmth
UAE has a lot to offer Irish tourists in winter. For one thing, there’s no dearth of sunshine. You can expect the temperatures to be between mid 20s to 30s. That’s very comforting and cheerful – isn’t it?
Of course everything else that the UAE is famous for is still on the plate for winter. The colourful souks and gourmet food. Mosques, and their stunning architecture. Luxury resorts and beaches, plus the desert safaris and the Middle Eastern hospitality.
Most Irish tour operators and luxury travel specialists offer an array of UAE packages that are tailored for winter months. There’s something for everyone. From the budget traveller to those who are looking for a wee bit of luxury and pampering. According to the data on the Central Statistics Office (STO) website, outbound tourism from Ireland to Middle East and Asia has seen an increase, especially if you compare the numbers from the year 2012 to those in 2016. Of course, the travel and tourism industry worldwide was affected by the pandemic, but things are certainly looking up.
Great connectivity from Dublin
It also helped that Emirates resumed its twice-a-day flight service between Dublin and Dubai after nearly two years plus of a forced hiatus caused by the pandemic. Enda Corneille, county manager for Emirates in Ireland had spoken of a four-fold increase in business to Dubai year-on-year for the first seven months of 2022. And as expected, Dubai was on the number one spot among the five most popular destinations for Emirates customers in Ireland. (The other destinations were Sydney, Melbourne, Bangkok and Mauritius.)
While Spain, and particularly Lanzarote remains a popular choice with Irish holidaymakers, the UAE also seems to be catching on. One of the factors is connectivity, and the second is because UAE can do both — luxury and budget travel. You can eat out five-star restaurants, and go fine dining or eat at pocket-friendly outlets. (There are plenty of restaurants offering buffet-style-eat-all-you-can options in the region). In Dubai, there’s the option of using the metro if you’re looking at saving money. However, for those who want the ultimate in luxury, the UAE can be very opulent. Think seven-star resorts, private beaches, super-yacht cruises, chauffer-driven cars, Michelin-starred restaurants…You can also have your own private fashion advisor when shopping or splurge on a private air charter!
As John Spollen, director of Cassidy Travel puts it, “Lanzarote continues to be our top winter sun destination; flying time is four-hours with daily connections offering easy access from Ireland; with temperatures in the mid-20s, it is a perfect winter destination for families and senior citizens and those into sporting activities and foodie lovers.
UAE offers the ideal winter sun destination, well known as a luxury gateway, with some of the tallest and most stunning architectural wonders to be seen anywhere in the world. Visit one of the upmarket shopping malls, with everything all under the same roof, daily direct flights and a flying time of just over seven hours. With its amazing hotels and deluxe beach resorts, UAE has something for everyone regardless of age and interest.”
Things to do in the UAE
So, what can you look forward to in the colder months ahead? As an Irish holidaymaker, you have plenty of choice. You could be heading to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, be tucked away in a desert oasis or sipping mocktails in a palm-lined pool. You can also opt for a luxury cruise from Dubai. Some of these cruises are only offered during the winter months. If you look at their itineraries, many include going to a luxury private island called Sur Bani Yas.
You could even plan a trip to Hatta. An hour’s drive away from Dubai, it’s very popular for mountain biking, adventure sports and for nature trails. If you’re heading to Dubai between November and May, make time for the Dubai Miracle Garden in Dubailand. It features 72,000 square meters of wonderful colours and scents. You may have also heard of the city of Ras Al Khaimah commonly referred to as RAK. It’s creating quite a buzz in travel circles, and is famous for a number of things. Beautiful natural landscapes, abundance of pearls, rich culture, and heritage and of course, fabulous beaches.
Then there are the desert safaris and explorations. Not to forget paying a visit to the Grand Mosque and the the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. Of course, you can simply choose to enjoy the many luxuries and fine dining options at your resort. Or just head to one of the beaches.
Whatever you choose to do, you’d have for sure traded gloomy skies for sunny warmth of the UAE. Not a bad bargain, eh?
Winter events in the UAE (correct at time of publication)
Abu Dhabi International Boat Show
GITEX Computer Show, Dubai
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Art Festival
Dubai Rugby 7s
Dubai World Championships (Golf)
Dubai Air Show
1st – UAE National Day celebrations (nationwide)
Dubai Shopping Festival
Dubai International Film Festival
Dubai Motor Show
Abu Dhabi Shopping Festival
How to get there
Emirates flies twice a day from Dublin to Dubai
Etihad operates a direct service from Dublin to Abu Dhabi
The Qatar Cup 2022 – Match Day Shuttle flights at a fixed fare from Dubai
Football fans attending the Qatar Cup 2022 will look at Dubai as a viable and reasonable place to stay. It also helps that Dubai has some of the highest number of hotel beds in the Gulf: around 100,000.
For this reason, Qatar Airways will be running special Match Day Shuttle flights. These come at a fixed fare, which includes ground transport to the stadium, but only cabin baggage is allowed. The flights will operate from Dubai World Central (DWC).
So if you’re looking to go to the Qatar Cup 2022, and want Dubai as your base, you’re sorted as well.