Despite the passing threat from Hurricane Irene, Charleston will be open for business this weekend and welcomes visitors to come on down, tourism officials say.

That’s the message sent out Thursday by the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“We expect a clear and beautiful weekend in the Charleston area, making it the perfect opportunity to enjoy special weekend lodging rates and deals,” the CVB said in a press release. “Hurricane Irene is projected to pass well to the east of Charleston, putting the Charleston area hospitality industry back on track with plans for the upcoming weekend.”

Several hotels are offering special weekend bargain packages to offset some of the cancellations received earlier in the week, CVB Deputy Director Perrin Lawson said.

To learn more about them, go to www.explorecharleston.com or www.charlestonpackages.com.