Book early, experts advise tourists

Tourists need to book early to avoid last-minute disappointments or haggling at the reception desks of furnished apartments.

Tourists need to book early to avoid last-minute disappointments or haggling at the reception desks of furnished apartments.

Planning ahead can save you a considerable amount of money, say experts from the Kingdom’s tourism sector.

Booking domestic accommodation facilities early guarantees lower prices and averts disappointment at the last moment, according to Zeyad Mahfooz, a member of the accommodation advisory committee sector at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).

Early booking ensures availability and allows travelers to plan other aspects of their trip, including car rental and the likes, he said.

“The early reservation culture is finally picking up, but still needs to be reinforced among local tourists, who think they can book last minute and still find good rates. It is, however, a simple equation of supply and demand.”

Early planning is definitely more cost-effective, according to Abdullah Al-Mogran, general manager of the Riyadh Palace Hotel.

“We have noticed that bookings are now made weeks in advance thanks to a relentless awareness campaign launched by the SCTA through the mass media.”

Tourism expenses may be reduced by as much as 50 percent through early booking since shoppers have time to compare prices before peak season sets in, he said.

Hotel managers and city-based tour operators also welcome early booking.

“Early planning has a positive effect on quality assurance and competition among hotel chains,” said Mohammad Asghar, the manager of a five-star Riyadh hotel.

SCTA President Prince Sultan bin Salman has consistently reiterated the importance of booking early to regulate market forces.

Detailed information about hotels and furnished apartments is available on the SCTA’s official website www.sauditourism.com.sa. Travelers can also find various and updated lists of tour operators and licensed tourist guides on the website, in addition to reviews on prominent historical and tourist sites.

 
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