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A full week off for a family-themed holiday is every destination’s dream of tourism gold.
Abu Dhabi’s fast-growing hotel industry has prepared attractive packages to boost local and GCC tourism this Eid Al Fitr, which many believe would grow this year as a lot of fun-filled and leisure activities have been lined up in the capital.
Competition has never been so tough in the hospitality industry as 150 hotels and hotel apartments have revealed plans to increase occupancy during the Eid Al Fitr-long week.
Several luxury hotels have substantially reduced room rates while others have been offering free upgrades and other facilities.
Khaleej Times spoke to major hotel groups to ask their expectations during this season. Holger Schroth, general manager of Emirates Palace Hotel, said between July 25 and 31, the luxury hotel will offer special discounted room rates, complimentary buffet breakfast for two adults and interconnecting rooms guaranteed at the time of making the reservation.
“Starting from Dh990 plus, Eid Al Fitr holidays can be celebrated at Emirates Palace, for a minimum of a two-night stay,” he said.
“Our figures for Eid Al Fitr this year are already stronger than the last few years,” he added.
The efforts and activities of destination promoters, such as the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, or TCA Abu Dhabi, and Etihad Airways, have contributed to the success of Abu Dhabi becoming a popular family destination during the Eid holidays.
Schroth expected a strong occupancy pick-up throughout the Eid Al Fitr holiday, which will continue into August and the coming months. “With the primary demand drivers being the GCC markets, we expect August to be a very busy month, especially with the main events of the highly-anticipated Abu Dhabi Summer Season kicking off this weekend”.
On leisure, fun activities being organised in the capital for the Eid season, he said Emirates Palace has partnered with TCA Abu Dhabi and Flash Entertainment to bring the highly-anticipated Abu Dhabi Summer Season to the capital, which kicked off on Saturday, with the Middle East premier of Transformers: Age of Extinction.
The following weekend will see the popular local cartoon, Freej, in two days of performances on August 1 and 2. These performances, two among a schedule of seven events, will attract a crowd from throughout the GCC this next month.
The capital’s Le Royal Meridien Hotel, which had a great Ramadan this year, is welcoming the Eid Al Fitr weekend with special packages from Dh525 per room, which includes taxes and breakfast plus a 20 per cent discount on dining at the recently-launched restaurants; — Market Kitchen, Amalfi and wheat.
“All our restaurants will come back to normal operations with their unique offerings from the first day of Eid Al Fitr. The most popular family brunch, Fizz Factory Royale, will go live from August 1 as well,” said Shaun Parsons, general manger of Royal Le Meridien.
Also, “we have several packages live with room rates starting from as little as Dh400 for a deluxe room,” he said. All these are bookable online through the hotel’s website.
The luxury Al Raha Beach Hotel on Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway is among the most sought-after destination this Eid due to its ideal location.
Sales manager Alina Gradinaru said that the luxury hotel has prepared a lot of promotions to attract tourists this Eid Al Fitr weekend, as a special Danat Joyous Eid package has been offered for the rooms, fish market brunch in Sevilla Restaurant on the second day of Eid from Dh205 per person and Eid BBQ at La Piscine Pool Bar for the first and second days of Eid with entertainment by its resident Cuban Band, from Dh115 per person.
For its beach front, Al Raha Beach Hotel is very much in demand during this Eid season, she said, as “we have a better response than the previous year with the majority of expected guests being from the local and GCC markets; we project occupancy of 98 per cent to 100 per cent.”
Immediately after Eid, Al Raha Beach Hotel will have “one more week busy with the international tourists and GCC travellers and afterwards we expect business to resume from our corporate clients and other business segments.”
Al Raha Beach Hotel has a great location for holiday seekers and proximity to all Yas Island attractions. The hotel offers wonderful resort leisure facilities for adults as well as for kids.
Kathrin Reinthaler, marketing director of Jannah Hotels & Resorts, said the group manages in Abu Dhabi the luxury property Eastern Mangrove Suites by Jannah, whose spacious two-bedroom suites are the ideal place for families to spend a memorable Eid in a unique water front location.
Instead of creating generic offers, she said: “We want to offer personalised and individual service to each of our first-class guests and engage with each of them to be able to anticipate their needs and exceed expectations.”
Reinthaler said the Eastern Mangrove Suites by Jannah’s Eid Ul Fitr offer includes a free upgrade from a one-bedroom suite to a two-bedroom suite, which allows the whole family to stay in one suit.
Families across the UAE are looking forward to celebrate Eid Al Fitr together and many of them will use the occasion to travel. At the same time, UAE residents would also consider to adventure into learning a lot more of what the emirates have to offer.
She said many families from all over the GCC will use the whole weekend to travel as the public sector and schools will be off for the entire week. Routine hotel business will resume after the weekend of August 1.
Sayed Tayoun, area director of sales and marketing at IHG Hotels, Abu Dhabi, which runs Crown Plaza and Staybridge, two popular brands on the Yas Island, said their theme park packages have been well-received by holiday-makers.
“We have several packages available for guests, including the IHG Special, Bed & Breakfast, and the Family Focus Package — which includes tickets to various island attractions.”
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Water World, golf course, marina, F1 Marina Circuit and beach have made Yas Island a popular destination among travellers from across the GCC region and certainly the other emirates.
TCA Abu Dhabi’s strong summer campaign has positioned Yas Island and Abu Dhabi as a destination of choice. Crown Plaza and Staybridge are participating in the Abu Dhabi Summer Season promotion, as well as Yas Island’s own “Coolest Summer Ever” event to attract travellers, Tayoun said.
Ibrahim Addam, director of rooms at Centro Capital Centre, said that he was expecting “a very busy Eid Al Fitr”.
“The hotels are offering Dh299 per room per night including breakfast, Internet and a 20 per cent discount on all other facilities,” Addam said.
“Centro Capital Centre is not the only hotel that is offering this package, but all Rotana sister properties have launched the same with offcourse a difference in the price between one property and other,” he said.
On local tourism, Addam said it always plays the biggest role in such periods, and “we have noticed that around 60 per cent of the bookings that are done during Eid Al Fitr are coming locally.”
He believed that this number will be maintained and most probably slightly increase especially with the many new events, attractions and activities that are taking place which is encouraging more tourists to take part of.