Abu Dhabi hotels get 1.37 m guests as tourism flourishes

Updated 04 September 2012
0

Abu Dhabi hotels get 1.37 m guests as tourism flourishes

Abu Dhabi has welcomed 1.37 million hotel guests between January and July showing an increase of 11 percent over the corresponding seven month period last year and remains well-placed to meet its annual target of 2.3 million. “While traditionally lower travel rates during Ramadan saw Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments return a 6 percent drop in year-on-year hotel guests for the month of July, the average length of stay — a key growth focus — rose to 2.84 days last month, an increase of 6 percent on the corresponding month last year,” the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) said yesterday.
In total, some 178,099 guests stayed at Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments in July, returning 504,982 guest nights — 1 percent down on the comparative month last year. The number of room nights dipped 4 percent, falling to 359,465 from the 373,254 tallied last July. Seven-month figures for guest nights and room nights show year-on-year increases of 7 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
Food & beverage revenues — a key source of accommodation sector income — remained constant at AED 98.1 million to ensure seven-month takings are 10 percent up on last year, totaling AED 1 billion.
“We remain on track as we enter our traditional busy season. With a packed entertainment schedule of world-class events and a host of new leisure attractions due to open across the emirate, including the UAE’s largest water park, Yas Waterworld, we are confident momentum will rise and we’ll reach our 2.3 million hotel guest target,” said Mubarak Al-Muhairi, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.
Asia displayed the strongest year-on-year hotel guest increase last month at 17 percent, followed closely by Europe at 12 percent and North America at 10 percent. Asia’s contribution was primarily driven by growth from Russia, which rose a staggering 128 percent, China (up 70 percent) and India (up 24 percent).
July also saw Germany re-establish itself as Abu Dhabi’s fastest-growing European source market — and eighth largest in total — as it contributed 5,380 hotel guests for the month, a year-on-year jump of 46 percent.
July’s best performing source markets were the UAE, which contributed 73,104 hotels guests, India with 10,753, the United Kingdom with 8,195 and Saudi Arabia with 7,235. In an effort to further boost inbound visitation from the Kingdom, TCA Abu Dhabi last week concluded its largest-ever promotional road show across three Saudi cities.
After seven months of the year, strong domestic custom ensures the UAE continues to top the 2012 table of total hotel guests at 522,141 a 6 percent increase over the same period last year — followed by the United Kingdom at 79,660 (down 2 percent), India at 76,272 (up 30 percent) and Germany at 54,506 (up 45 percent).


Singapore’s deaf ‘bird whisperer’ forms rare bond with feathered friends

Updated 24 April 2018
0

Singapore’s deaf ‘bird whisperer’ forms rare bond with feathered friends

SINGAPORE: Deaf since childhood, Razali Bin Mohamad Habidin has developed a closer bond with the creatures under his care than any other keeper at Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park, where other staff refer to him simply as the “bird whisperer.”
Razali, who lost 80 percent of his hearing after falling ill as a baby, started working at the park over two decades ago, and has risen to the position of deputy head avian keeper.
He communicates with the birds through grunts, gestures and body languages and said that he recognizes the birds by their “behaviors and personalities.”
“All of them are my friends,” he added, communicating through a mix of gestures and Malay.
Other staff at the park have dubbed the 48-year-old “the bird whisperer” — after Hollywood film “The Horse Whisperer,” starring Robert Redford as a trainer with a gift for understanding horses.
“He has a way of communicating with the birds that very few of us can,” said assistant curator Angelin Lim. “Just by a look, he knows whether or not the bird is well.”
Communication with his colleagues can be more challenging than with the birds.
Razali leads about a dozen staff and giving them instructions usually involves him making various complex hand gestures, and then reading the lips of his colleagues when they respond.
His way with the creatures at the park, which is home to more than 5,000 birds from parrots to hornbills, was on display as he brought a snack of palm fruits into an enclosure filled with parrots.
The hyacinth macaws, the world’s largest parrots, stopped squawking and watched him curiously before following him.
One of the giant birds perched on his shoulder, playfully rubbed his finger with its beak — a sign of trust and affection — and ate out of his hand.