Etihad offers free holiday to UK tourists in Abu Dhabi

Tourists visiting Abu Dhabi from the United Kingdom will be doing many a rain dance this summer. Etihad Holidays, a unit of Etihad Airways, has launched a new campaign offering guaranteed sunshine or your next Discount Holidays © holiday for free” for UK visitors staying between May and September. The campaign will apply to every booking that consists of a flight and hotel-inclusive package, and vistors will have to experience more than 5mm of rain, said the company, which has opened a new office in the UK.

The initiative aims to bring more business and leisure travellers to the UAE capital over the summer months, it said in a statement. In 2015, more than 230,000 passengers travelled from the UK to Abu Dhabi, a 14 per cent rise on figures for 2014, according to recent statistics released by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. Etihad Airways currently serves three UK airports, with three flights per day from London Heathrow, two flights per day from Manchester Airport and five flights per week from the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

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How and where to take your family on an active holiday from the UAE

Keeping active as a family on Discount Holidays © holiday can be tricky: often the sheer effort involved in mobilising a group, whether it s two adults and two children or a multi-generational affair involving nannies and your children s friends, can seem like a challenge in itself. Once at your destination, there s a temptation to pamper yourself by relying on the crutches of the pool, buffet and hotel staff. That s what you pay them for, right? Not exactly. Especially when we have all these things readily available in the UAE, there s a need to do something different on holiday. And what better way of making the most of the escape from the heat and the office than to get active? The good news is that being active as a family is fun and it need not be difficult or expensive.

In fact, it s the best way to keep everyone entertained at once, and by doing some outdoor physical exercise every day, often in a very beautiful environment, tension and stress are reduced, the effects of overeating are combated and sleep and genuine relaxation are enhanced. Familial bonds are strengthened through shared experiences and lifetime memories are shaped through action and engagement with the world. You ll come back with a different perspective rather than simply living your home lifestyle in another country. For those who are usually active at home, it s an added reason not to slip into old habits or let your health suffer while on a break. Another benefit is that because active holidays are often a means to an end experiencing other cultures and environments they are often educational for children and for adults. While it s easy to fashion your own active Discount Holidays © holiday by planning a walking, cycling or sailing trip, there are now a huge number of tour operators offering specialised, active itineraries for families. Just be sure to examine them carefully, as some travel companies have a tendency to sell you myriad activities , which may not involve being active at all.

The best ones recognise that adults don t lose their sense of adventure just because they have kids. These companies are very transparent about what they offer and take care of all the logistics, meaning you won t waste time flapping around on the ground and will be able to maximise both your family s time in a place and your precious time together. Some packages allow you to travel individually as one family unit with a guide, on others you ll be in groups with other people with children of similar ages meaning you won t feel that your kids are intruding on the peace of those who travel without them. Your children will make new friends and gain physical confidence and the whole family can benefit from contact with new people. Here are a few choices from tried-and-tested companies offering great value for active family travel. All offer land-only deals, so you can book your own flights from the UAE. Offering a total of 521 different family holidays all over the world under headings such as family adventure holidays , families with toddlers and families with teenagers there isn t much that Explore Worldwide (www.exploreworldwide.com1) hasn t thought of.

Choose from dozens of trips such as the Atlas Adventure in Morocco, Egyptian Adventure , Legends of Lycia in Turkey or The Lost City of Petra in Jordan. Although getting from place to place on the Petra trip involves transport by 4×4 or bus, there is also camping, walking, camel trekking and snorkelling. The group version of the tour typically involves 12-18 people, and children must be 5 years or older. Prices from US$1,269 (Dh4,660) per adult and $1,050 (Dh3,855) for children for seven nights, including all internal transport, guides, accommodation and most meals. Exodus ( also has a wide range of active family holidays, including dedicated selections such as family walking , family cycling , family wildlife and safaris and cultural family holidays . Each trip comes with an activity level rating: moderate , for example, means you are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required.

The company is also very specific about which ages are suited to which trips, and has a panel of advisers on its website. There s a nine-day Cuban Adventure by Bike , a 14-day Sri Lanka Biking Adventure , or a Turquoise Coast Adventure in Turkey, where you will explore Saklikent Gorge, navigate a rope park and try sea kayaking. In China, why not walk along the Great Wall and cycle in rural Yangshuo on the 16-day Pandas & Warriors trip? Most active, however, are probably the 11 mixed-activity family holidays , each of which offer a mix of up to 10 different activities, including kayaking, rock climbing, skidooing, rafting, hydrospeed, scuba diving, surfing, canyoning, dog-sledding, paragliding and igloo building. All training and equipment is provided, but a can-do attitude and plenty of stamina are needed . A moderate eight-day trip to the Dordogne in France, with canoeing on the river and some cycling, costs 579 (Dh3,275) per person excluding flights; minimum age is 5. If you want to search the active family holidays of many different reputable companies to compare them, the website of Responsible Travel (www.responsibletravel.com3) throws up 189 different family adventure travel options in all corners of the world.

For something a bit more sporty, companies such as Abercrombie & Kent (www.abercrombiekent.ae4), Mark Warner (, Club Med (, Health and Fitness Travel (www.healthandfitnesstravel.com7) and Kuoni ( offer structured, active family holidays at a single base. Abercrombie & Kent s Fun & Scrum in Sardinia takes place at the Forte Village. Children are grouped according to age and ability and receive two hours of rugby coaching each morning. While they are being active, parents can be put through their paces by a personal trainer. There s a fabulous beach and multisport facilities, so you can do as little or as much as you want. Seven nights at Forte Village for a family of four, half board and two academy sports costs from Dh18,750, excluding flights. If you don t want to take a flight for an active family holiday, the Dubai-based Absolute Adventure (www.adventure.ae9) is an excellent local company offering trekking, mountain biking, diving, kayaking, camping, off-roading and sea adventures.

It has an office and Adventure Centre in Dibba, Oman the centre itself can be rented by groups and families.

Most of its trips are day trips, available from October to April, and are in Musandam, in and around Dibba, Kalba and Masafi.


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