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Thousands expected to make most of extended Eid break by jetting abroad

DUBAI // Public-sector workers will have a four-day weekend to celebrate Eid Al Fitr, the government human resources department has announced.

Eid will begin at dusk on Thursday, and government workers will have Sunday and Monday added to their weekend, returning to work next Tuesday.

They will receive their salaries on Tuesday to help them prepare for the holiday.

Private sector workers will have Friday and Saturday off.

The moon sighting committee will officially confirm the first day of Eid Al Fitr this week.

Travel agents, airports and airlines are bracing for a last-minute Eid holiday rush.

Premjit Bangara, general manager of Sharaf Travel in Dubai, said he was preparing for a flurry of bookings.

“With the public holidays being announced I think we’ll see a lot of people making bookings in the next day or so,” Mr Bangara said.

“The most popular destinations will be to the subcontinent as well as the Far East, Egypt, Oman and for those who can afford it, the Maldives.”

Sri Lanka is also expected to be a particularly attractive destination.

“There are still some seats available for Sri Lanka and due to the short travel distance it is likely to be booked up quickly,” Mr Bangara said.

With the school holidays in full swing, most of the people who would travel for Eid are already abroad, he said.

“It means that the number of people likely to travel for Eid might be a little lower than usual.”

But Mr Bangara urged anyone wishing to travel to book in the next day or so to avoid missing out.

“The remaining seats will get booked up fairly quickly and I would advise people to book their hotels in advance as they are likely to save more than leaving it to the last minute,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Emirates airline advised passengers to arrive two hours early for their flight to beat the queues at check in, check-in online or use the self-service kiosks.

Meanwhile, Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour, said private-sector employees would probably receive paid holidays if they worked on Friday or Saturday.

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* Additional reporting by Naser Al Remeithi

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(via The National)