Plan your summer sojourn


With the summer finally setting in the Middle East, schools being closed and another long holiday around the corner, a quick indulgent summer escape is the ultimate solution. provides detailed insights into the destinations where locals and expats are headed to for spending their vacation.

Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President—Sales & Marketing Adaaran and Heritance Aarah Resorts, Maldives

“Adaaran has a selection of resorts that provides privacy, incomparable dining experiences, mesmerising surroundings and curated experience for both adventure and relaxation seekers. Middle Eastern guests especially look at privacy and larger rooms for family accommodation. Adaaran Resorts not only offers world-class service and products but also presents attractive rates on an all-inclusive basis. The ease of access to the resorts is also an advantage for us. Our resorts have offerings to cater to the Middle Eastern market and their diverse needs through cuisine, accommodation and other services.”

Glenn Daniels, General Manager Dhigali, Maldives

“Dhigali is quite a contemporary resort in the Maldives that is operating for a year now. We cater to a wide range of guests; with 180 rooms, we have the capability to host large groups, families and honeymooners. We have a few rooms that are fairly well hidden to provide privacy to some of our guests from the Middle East market. Our Batuta Restaurant has a great story behind. The food comes from different parts of the world which I don’t think is being offered in the other islands. We deal with different business partners in the Middle East and to create an ease, we make the booking system and reservation 24 hours a day. ME is an important market for Dhigali as it is a short haul flight for short breaks with regular flights from Dubai.”

Daks Fernandez Gonzales, Head—Office of Product and Market Development for India and the Middle East, Department of Tourism, Philippines

“The GCC is a growing market of great interest and strategic importance for the Philippines. Saudi Arabia is the most significant in terms of numbers and ranks within our top 15 markets, followed by the UAE. Great hospitality combined with stunning beaches, exciting urban adventures and breathtakingly beautiful natural settings are offered with exceptional value for money. Halal certified restaurants are expanding throughout the country. Many of the well-known four and five-star branded hotels, especially in the capital has full of Halal kitchens. The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) is looking to expand its marketing activities in Saudi Arabia to encourage travel trade engagement.”

Charitha Yattogoda, Sri Lankan Consul General, Dubai

“We have witnessed a rise of 6.5 per cent last year from the Middle Eastern region. All the Middle Eastern carriers and our national carrier have packages that attract the locals and expatriates from the Middle East. Sri Lanka is a four-hour flight from UAE with over 70 flights a week from Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The new e-visa system enables travellers to get the visa online, thereby making it a hassle-free experience.”

Jonas Sjostedt, General Manager Centara Pattaya Hotel and Centara Nova Hotel & Spa, Pattaya

“Our Middle East guests travel not only for business and leisure, but also for big family vacations, a honeymoon, or even healthcare in Thailand. Their travel season helps smooth Thailand’s tourism demand year-round. Our properties here not only offer attractively-designed accommodations at the most convenient locations but also a full range of amenities to match the demands of guests from all over the world.”

Darren Darwin, General Manager Anantara Kalutara Resort, Sri Lanka

“The GCC market is an important segment for us, especially from May to October due to the two Eid holidays. This market loves to book private pool villas due to its privacy. All our outlets are halal certified and the resort is well equipped to offer facilities such as Qiblah direction, etc. To cut it short, a Muslim traveller can comfortably experience the resort with ease. GCC produced 1394 room nights in 2017 and 941 room nights till June 2018.”

Harun Dursun, General Manager Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, Turkey

“As growing markets, the GCC and the Middle East are showing an increase in visitor numbers. Catering to all segments of travellers, Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum provides a range of activities, including a variety of sports and water sports, wellness offerings, wide selection of restaurants and bars to choose from. Our focus is also on providing our guests with the utmost in luxury hospitality from our legendary Mandarin Oriental service to stunning accommodation that include some of the largest rooms and villas on the peninsula. Our Arabic speaking butler team delights our guests and understands the needs and requirements without any delay at any time.”

Sandra Leibrock, Director of Sales and Marketing Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Oman

Oman is accessible from the UAE by road, air and sea. Along with visa on arrival, this convenience makes Oman the perfect destination for short-term vacations in GCC. Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is an integrated beachside facility with 19 bars and restaurants, a private beach and five swimming pools. The hotel offers unique experiences native to the destination of Oman. As one of only five turtle nesting sites in all of Oman, we offer complimentary guided snorkelling tours with our dedicated turtle rangers. We have worked on creating specific experiences such as the introduction of a new water sports facility to attract more Middle East travellers.”


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