Hotels woo tourists

Cool holidays ... The Infinity poolside at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi beach resort in Dubai.

Hotels and airlines in the region have launched a raft of promotions and incentives to get a slice of one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world.

Tourism industry operators have also teamed up with local authorities to attract visitors with a tempting array of discounts and value benefits.

Discounts of up to 50 per cent and special all-inclusive packages are being offered by major hotels and related hospitality industry outlets with the family firmly in focus.

Dubai, Bahrain, Qatar as well as Jeddah have chalked up summer promotion campaign aimed at drawing regional and international visitors while keeping the high spending Gulf tourists home.

In Dubai, most of the major hotels and hotel apartments are taking part in the popular Dubai for Free campaign offering extra-night free stays on top of accommodation discounts.

Typical deals being offered by hotels throughout the region include room rate discounts, plus benefits such as late check-outs, complimentary breakfast, airport transfers, free stay for children in parents' room, access to hotel facilities and beaches and transport to shopping malls among others.

In Bahrain, all five-star hotels as well as many of the four and three star properties are offering special rates during the Bahrain Summer promotion being held in July and August.

Qatar hotels too have lined up special rates to complement the first Summer Wonders promotion being organised by the Qatar General Tourism Authority.

In Saudi Arabia, many of Jeddah's more than 120 hotels, including five and four star properties, are offering discounts on room tariffs besides substantial savings on dining and other attractions during the six-week-long Jeddah 23 Festival.

In Oman, the annual Khareef Festival later this month in the Salalah region is expected to draw thousands of tourists from within the Sultanate and neighbouring GCC states, specially UAE.

Hotels in the area have launched comprehensive packages to lure visitors and expect to report a full season for the festival.

With countries in the Levant region looking at the Gulf and Arab tourists this year to plug in a gap left by visitors from the US and Europe following September 11 and the ongoing Middle East crisis, airlines and hotels there have also lined up attractive deals specifically targeting Gulf families.

Most international hotel chains are offering room discounts and special packages not merely at their properties within the region but also at popular overseas destinations in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Special emphasis is on families with hotels and resorts throughout the region offering complimentary stays for children and a host of activities to keep young visitors busy while their parents relax.

Several hotel groups have combined with airlines, car rental firms and credit card companies to give added value to their packages.