Abu Dhabi hotels get 1.37 m guests as tourism flourishes

Updated 04 September 2012
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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).


Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

An aerial photo of a road running through an palm plantation in Dumai, Riau, Sumatra island, Indonesia. (Antara Foto/Rony Muharrman/via REUTERS/File)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

  • Researcher Alice Hughes found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
  • An average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.

KUALA LUMPUR: Forests in parts of Southeast Asia face greater threats than previously thought because researchers often rely on data that ignores new roads, which are precursors to deforestation and development, a study shows.
The paper, published this month by the journal Biological Conservation, showed that an average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.
“Large-scale forest clearance is preceded by the growth of road networks, which provide a stark warning for the region’s future,” the study said.
Author Alice Hughes, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, studied a total of 277,281 square kilometers by analyzing satellite images and maps showing forest loss and coverage, as well as agriculture concessions.
She found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
“We are deluding ourselves that we still have large tracts of inaccessible, pristine forest, when the reality is highly-fragmented, very accessible forests,” Hughs said on Friday.
Her research examined road networks in parts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
“In some parts of the region, up to 99 percent of roads on those global maps, which are used as the basis for a huge amount of further analysis, are not included,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Deforestation and development of forests in the area studied have occurred at a rapid pace since 2000, said Hughes, while maps used by researchers do not regularly update their road data.
“Most of the time these roads are just providing access to forests and up to 99 percent of deforestation is within 2.5 km of road,” she said. “They are clearly the access method.”
She added that the region urgently needs better protection and enforcement for its remaining forests.
Indonesia, which is the world’s biggest palm oil producer, introduced a forest clearing moratorium in 2011 to help reduce deforestation.
Hughes said the ban should be expanded beyond just land designated as natural, untouched primary forest to include all high biodiversity forests.
Hughes’ research methodology should be used to determine whether the same patterns exist in other parts of the world, said Christopher Martius, team leader for climate change at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research.
“It is surprising that nobody ever did that before, and it is shocking that the result shows we grossly underestimated the possible threat to tropical forests from road building,” he said by email.