By Monika Canty
Tour operates sees Holy Month impacting sales figures as tourism figures decline
Travel agents will see their margins slashed for the next five years as the Holy Month of Ramadan moves further each year into peak summer holiday selling period.
Ramadan, which has historically been a period when Muslims prefer to stay at home rather than to travel out of the country, Ramadan is set to impact holiday sales until 2017.
Gordon Price, director of Gold Coast Tourism, said Arab visitors traditionally visit the Australian region for a period of up to three months in the summer. Due to Ramadan starting in August this year, the summer season has been reduced to just 45 days.
“We will see the summer season decline over the next few years until 2017,” he said during an interview in Dubai. “Our bottom line will be impacted and travel agents will be impacted. As a destination we are taking this extremely seriously.”
Price said it was vital the travel trade establish ways to stimulate demand for travel during Ramadan. The Gold Coast is promoting a ‘Ramadan lounge’, iftars and nighttime activities for its Muslim guests during Ramadan.
“We can’t remove the stigma of travelling during Ramadan,” said Price. “But we can try to meet cultural and religious needs.”
Dina Al Herais, vice president for commercial operations at Emirates Holidays, said as the Holy Month moved further into July, travel among Muslim families would become more common.
“As Ramadan moves forward into July, which is the start of the school holidays there’s going to be a need for families to get out. We encourage the National Tourism Boards we work with to consider Ramadan and how to cater to it,” said.