UAE. More than two thirds of UAE travellers say their holiday starts by the time they reach the airport, according to new research.

The ‘travel habits’ survey was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Emirates Leisure Retail and Dubai Airports. The airport and retailer have now launched a joint initiative offering discounts, live entertainment and competitions to ensure travellers can “kick-start their summer holidays at Dubai International”.

The discounts in the ‘Early Birds Have More Fun’ initiative include up to -25% off at Emirates Leisure Retail’s range of restaurants, as well as up to -25% off spa treatments at Be Relax. The offers can be downloaded from www.earlybirdshavemorefun.com.

Over the peak summer travel period, the airport will feature live performances as part of Dubai Airports’ ongoing musicDXB initiative

“The YouGov survey is further evidence that the airport experience is a fundamental part of the holiday experience, which is why we’re constantly introducing new and exciting ways to engage, entertain and delight our passengers,” said Dubai Airports Director – Brand Engagement Matthew Horobin.

“It also revealed that some passengers are unaware of many of Dubai International’s more recent facilities and services, like the dedicated Kids’ Zone to let children blow off steam, and a major upgrade to provide the world’s best airport Wi-Fi. Combined with the special offers this summer, there are plenty of reasons for passengers to arrive early and get their holidays off to a flyer.”

Emirates Leisure Retail and Dubai Airports are encouraging passengers to get to the airport early to discover Dubai International’s more recent facilities and services

The survey found that 36% of respondents did not take advantage of the 150 restaurants at Dubai International. Some 30% of those passengers said they didn’t have enough time, while 23% weren’t sure what options were on offer.

Emirates Leisure Retail Head of Marketing Shemaine Jones commented: “Our belief is that airport dining should positively add to your travel experience – be it for business or pleasure. Our menus and outlets are designed to offer choice and I think most passengers would be pleasantly surprised at how quickly we can deliver world-class food and drink, be that at Pret A Manger, giraffe, Jack’s Bar and Grill, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, Noodle House or Costa Coffee.”

The YouGov survey polled 501 UAE residents. It also found that 65% of respondents create an airport shopping list before leaving home, with the most popular items for purchase including sunglasses (51%), toiletries (40%) and books (35%). Some 45% of travellers said they mistakenly leave items at home, which the most commonly forgotten items including travel plug adapters, mobile phone chargers, toothbrushes and sunglasses.