Super offers to lure Gulf holidaymakers
Government-led promotions to attract visitors in at least three GCC states highlight the start of the annual summer holiday season this year.The yearly extravaganza, Dubai Summer Surprises, in the UAE, the Bahrain Summer Bonanza 2001 and Jeddah Festival in Saudi Arabia ropes in the government, airlines, hospitality and leisure industry and the private sector to tap into the annual summer exodus in the region. Major hotel chains throughout the region are offering discounts of up to 50 per cent on their published room tariffs plus a wide variety of other incentives targeting weekend and family tourists to keep occupancy levels high. In Dubai, Ice Surprises kicked off the nearly two- and-a-half-month long Dubai Summer Surprises being held this year under the theme Big Fun for Little Ones. The event which combines resources and efforts of the Dubai tourism authorities and government departments, hotels, shopping malls and private companies, will feature 10 theme activities. In Bahrain, the summer bonanza promotion is a joint drive by the Government's Economic Development Board (EDB), Tourism Affairs and the country's seven five-star hotels targeting Arab families. The cut-price scheme is backed by a BD200,000 ($552,456) marketing campaign. Bahrain expects to top last year's 600,000 summer visitors by a wide margin because of the promotion. In Saudi Arabia, Makkah Governor Prince Abdul Majeed kicked off the six-week long Jeddah Festival in a show of colour and light last month. The annual event is expected to attract 2.5 million visitors and organisers expect a windfall of more than SR2 billion ($530 million). Meanwhile, Oman's scenic Dhofar region is gearing up to host thousands of visitors from the Sultanate and neighbouring Gulf states during the annual Khareef Festival.