By Gemma Greenwood
New destinations including Australia, Ireland and Italy dominate the summer 2007 programme.
Etihad Holidays has launched a meaty 178-page 2007 brochure featuring 30% more content than the summer 2006 programme.
New destinations in countries spanning Australia, Malaysia, Ireland, India and Italy have been included as Etihad Airways has launched or prepares to introduce flights to Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Dublin, Kerala and Milan respectively.
The new brochure features more than 370 apartments and hotels in 90 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America and is available in English and Arabic.
"There is enormous demand for holidays to Australia and Malaysia and we are delighted to be able to offer fantastic breaks to these destinations. Our customers can now book holidays to 90 destinations worldwide all flying conveniently from Abu Dhabi airport," said Nick Wood, general manager, Etihad Holidays.
He also emphasised that the Etihad Holidays brochure was one of the only programmes in the market that included package prices.
"The feedback we have received from customers and travel agents is that they want the prices to be displayed in the brochure; it helps people plan their holidays better and within their budget," he explained.
All the prices listed are fixed; only fluctuating fuel surcharges and taxes must be taken into consideration, said Wood.
However, the tour operator has launched a ‘May Getaways' campaign, running from May 1-31, with prices for a three-night break to Beirut leading in at AED 1200 (US $327) per person.
Three-night breaks to Colombo, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Paris lead in at AED 1295, ($353), AED 1760 ($479), AED 1810 ($493), 2435 ($663) respectively.
According to Wood, Malaysia is the top-selling destination for 2007, followed by Thailand, Egypt, the UK and France.
"But we expect that to change later in the year, particularly with Sydney coming online," he added.
Direct flights from Abu Dhabi to Sydney were introduced on March 26. The three times weekly service will be upped to daily on June 29 and Etihad has been given the rights to fly to Australia 28 times weekly by 2010.
Etihad Holidays packages span Sydney and its surrounds, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and North Queensland, but one of the highlights, said Wood, is the breaks offered in New South Wales' Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley, which have been designed specifically for couples and families looking to explore the area around Sydney with a fly-drive.
Located approximately 100 km to the west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a series of spectacular cliffs, which surround a plateau penetrated by rugged gorges.
The lead-in price for holiday at the Grand Mercure Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains starts from as little as AED 3035 ($826) per person, including flights and three nights' accommodation.
Etihad Holidays is also introducing a "go as you please" pass, which allows holidaymakers travelling to Australia to pre-book hotels or buy hotel vouchers before departure without having to fix a set date for their stay.
Travellers booking with Etihad Holidays can take advantage of the lowest price guarantee; if they find identical holiday at a better price, Etihad Holidays will match that price.
The operator has also introduced bonus offers such as a free night's accommodation when booking a specified number of nights, complimentary room upgrades, transfer upgrade options and free stays for children.
Early booking discounts of AED 200 ($54) per adult and AED100 ($27) per child are available to customers who book and pay in full 30 days before departure.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.