Cool holidays

Gefinor Rotana in Beirut is inviting Gulf visitors to the newest property in Lebanon.

As families all over the Gulf and Middle East decide on whether to fly off to cooler climes, explore exotic new destinations, or simply sweat it out, the region's hospitality industry is pulling out all stops with special incentives to beat the heat, and thus ensure that their beds and beaches remain full during the hot summer season.

Hotels and resorts and airlines are gearing up to meet the rush with tempting holiday discounts of up to 50 per cent and other value added benefits.

Local tourism authorities are also in on the act with special promotions, local festivals and other activities for families with the more than month long Dubai Summer Surprises leading the calendar.

The increasingly popular Dubai Summer Surprises, scheduled to be held from June 21 to August 31, is being promoted heavily throughout the Gulf region by the emirate's tourism authorities through roadshows.

The event which last year drew 1.8 million visitors to Dubai, the majority of them from the region, has lined up 10 surprises under the theme Big Fun for Little Ones.

The event is being organised by different government departments, in association with shopping malls, hotels and sponsoring companies.

Tourism authorities in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, are expecting more than 2.5 million visitors during this year's summer festival, 'Jeddah 22'beginning on June 13.

The number of events at this year's festival has been increased to 109 with a gold festival to be held for the first time.

While the other Gulf states have not announced any specific events, several individual promotions have already been announced to attract visitors.

Major hotel groups in the region have announced attractive packages to woo tourists with reduced tariffs, free breakfast, airport transfers, rebates on food and beverages, access to beach facilities and other incentives.

Bass Hotels and Resorts are offering two attractive Summer Options and Weekender Plus packages through their Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn properties worldwide.

Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts, which currently operates six Middle East properties, has a region wide special family summer holiday offer cutting rates by as much as 50 per cent between June 1 and August 31.

Hilton International is offering holiday makers up to three free additional nights at select Hilton hotels around the world as part of a 'Hilton For Free' promotion in over 50 properties across five continents.

Luxury chain Le Meridien has launched an innovative passport scheme with discounts of upto 50 per cent to woo visitors from the region.

Middle East based Rotana group is offering Rotana Plus packages to make holidays 'more affordable and memorable'.

Other hotels and resorts have also lined up tempting packages, many in association with airlines and car hire firms, to help tourists get value for money as they enjoy their summer break.