Abu Dhabi's hoteliers hail recovery



Hoteliers in Abu Dhabi say there are signs of a recovery in the travel sector, as the number of visitors to the emirate last year beat targets.

More than 1.8 million visitors stayed in Abu Dhabi's 114 hotels and hotel apartments last year, up 18 per cent from 2009, according to new figures released by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).

Guests also stayed longer in hotels, at an average of 2.83 nights each. The ADTA said the region beat its hotel guest target by 8 per cent.

"Demand is coming back," said Konstanze Auernheimer, the director of marketing and analysis at the hotel research company STR Global. "More people are staying in hotels again."

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Officials at the ADTA credited the region's expansion of tourist attractions as a driver for the growth in visitors. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and new golf courses brought in many tourists, as did international events such as World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi and the Formula One Grand Prix.

"The Government is pretty committed to provide incentives to travel to that destination," said Ms Auernheimer.

Lower hotel rates also boosted visitor numbers. In the first half of last year, average rates in Abu Dhabi fell by 26 per cent, in sharp contrast to the 38 per cent increase a year earlier, according to a survey conducted last year by the corporate travel services company Hogg Robinson Group.

During the first half of 2009, Abu Dhabi was the only city among the top 10 most expensive to live in that recorded a rise in average daily rate, although due to new hotel openings, overall occupancy rates were down.

"Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi has faced a substantial fall in occupancy combined with ongoing new hotel developments, set to continue for some time to come," the report from Hogg Robinson Group warned.

Officials from the ADTA have acknowledged that more competitive pricing last year did lure additional visitors. But occupancies in Abu Dhabi fell 10 per cent, which left revenues flat at Dh4.2 billion (US$1.14bn) compared with 2009.

"The main problem is you have so many hotel rooms that need to be filled," said Ms Auernheimer. "That's hindering the recovery.

"I think for the long term, it's looking pretty good that the supply will hopefully be absorbed. But there's a lot of supply coming so the short term might not be as pretty."

The ADTA has an ambitious goal to attract 1.9 million guests this year, which would contribute slightly more than 11 per cent to the emirate's overall non-oil GDP.

The emirate has already seen a boost in domestic tourism. Residents in the UAE accounted for more than 40 per cent of the hotel rooms filled last year, up 16 per cent from 2009.

Visitors from neighbouring GCC countries increased more sharply, with the number of guests from Saudi Arabia growing by 26 per cent, Oman 35 per cent, and Kuwait 28 per cent.

Yet international visitors remain Abu Dhabi's biggest tourism growth area, according to the ADTA. The number of tourists from the UK increased 22 per cent, the US 16 per cent, and France 6 per cent. And more than 14,500 visitors from China came to Abu Dhabi, up 29 per cent from 2009.

Hamilton’s 2017

Australia - 2nd; China - 1st; Bahrain - 2nd; Russia - 4th; Spain - 1st; Monaco - 7th; Canada - 1st; Azerbaijan - 5th; Austria - 4th; Britain - 1st; Hungary - 4th; Belgium - 1st; Italy - 1st; Singapore - 1st; Malaysia - 2nd; Japan - 1st; United States - 1st; Mexico - 9th

Coffee: black death or elixir of life?

It is among the greatest health debates of our time; splashed across newspapers with contradicting headlines - is coffee good for you or not?

Depending on what you read, it is either a cancer-causing, sleep-depriving, stomach ulcer-inducing black death or the secret to long life, cutting the chance of stroke, diabetes and cancer.

The latest research - a study of 8,412 people across the UK who each underwent an MRI heart scan - is intended to put to bed (caffeine allowing) conflicting reports of the pros and cons of consumption.

The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, contradicted previous findings that it stiffens arteries, putting pressure on the heart and increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, leading to warnings to cut down.

Numerous studies have recognised the benefits of coffee in cutting oral and esophageal cancer, the risk of a stroke and cirrhosis of the liver. 

The benefits are often linked to biologically active compounds including caffeine, flavonoids, lignans, and other polyphenols, which benefit the body. These and othetr coffee compounds regulate genes involved in DNA repair, have anti-inflammatory properties and are associated with lower risk of insulin resistance, which is linked to type-2 diabetes.

But as doctors warn, too much of anything is inadvisable. The British Heart Foundation found the heaviest coffee drinkers in the study were most likely to be men who smoked and drank alcohol regularly.

Excessive amounts of coffee also unsettle the stomach causing or contributing to stomach ulcers. It also stains the teeth over time, hampers absorption of minerals and vitamins like zinc and iron.

It also raises blood pressure, which is largely problematic for people with existing conditions.

So the heaviest drinkers of the black stuff - some in the study had up to 25 cups per day - may want to rein it in.

Rory Reynolds

'My Son'

Director: Christian Carion

Starring: James McAvoy, Claire Foy, Tom Cullen, Gary Lewis

Rating: 2/5

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier

ICC Academy, November 22-28

UAE fixtures
Nov 22, v Malaysia
Nov 23, v Hong Kong
Nov 25, v Bhutan
Nov 26, v Kuwait
Nov 28, v Nepal

ICC T20I rankings
14. Nepal
17. UAE
25. Hong Kong
34. Kuwait
35. Malaysia
44. Bhutan

UAE squad
Chaya Mughal (captain), Natasha Cherriath, Samaira Dharnidharka, Kavisha Egodage, Mahika Gaur, Priyanjali Jain, Suraksha Kotte, Vaishnave Mahesh, Judit Peter, Esha Rohit, Theertha Satish, Chamani Seneviratne, Khushi Sharma, Subha Venkataraman

AIR

Director: Ben Affleck

Stars: Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Viola Davis

Rating: 4/5

WHAT IS THE LICENSING PROCESS FOR VARA?

Vara will cater to three categories of companies in Dubai (except the DIFC):

Category A: Minimum viable product (MVP) applicants that are currently in the process of securing an MVP licence: This is a three-stage process starting with [1] a provisional permit, graduating to [2] preparatory licence and concluding with [3] operational licence. Applicants that are already in the MVP process will be advised by Vara to either continue within the MVP framework or be transitioned to the full market product licensing process.

Category B: Existing legacy virtual asset service providers prior to February 7, 2023, which are required to come under Vara supervision. All operating service proviers in Dubai (excluding the DIFC) fall under Vara’s supervision.

Category C: New applicants seeking a Vara licence or existing applicants adding new activities. All applicants that do not fall under Category A or B can begin the application process through their current or prospective commercial licensor — the DET or Free Zone Authority — or directly through Vara in the instance that they have yet to determine the commercial operating zone in Dubai. 

Results

6.30pm: Madjani Stakes Group 2 (PA) Dh97,500 (Dirt) 1,900m, Winner: RB Frynchh Dude, Pat Cosgrave (jockey), Helal Al Alawi (trainer)

7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,400m, Winner: Mnasek, Dane O’Neill, Doug Watson.

7.40pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,600m, Winner: Grand Dubai, Sandro Paiva, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

8.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 2,200m, Winner: Meqdam, Sam Hitchcock, Doug Watson.

8.50pm: Dubai Creek Mile Listed (TB) Dh132,500 (D) 1,600m, Winner: Thegreatcollection, Pat Cosgrave, Doug Watson.

9.25pm: Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (D) 1,900m, Winner: Sanad Libya, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

10pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (D) 1,400m, Winner: Madkhal, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass.

Tales of Yusuf Tadros

Adel Esmat (translated by Mandy McClure)

Hoopoe

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: 3S Money
Started: 2018
Based: London
Founders: Ivan Zhiznevsky, Eugene Dugaev and Andrei Dikouchine
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $5.6 million raised in total

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Simon Pegg
Rating: 4/5

Fighting with My Family

Director: Stephen Merchant 

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Nick Frost, Lena Headey, Florence Pugh, Thomas Whilley, Tori Ellen Ross, Jack Lowden, Olivia Bernstone, Elroy Powell        

Four stars

Joy Ride

Director: Adele Lim
Stars: Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu, Sabrina Wu
Rating: 4/5

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

FULL FIGHT CARD

Featherweight Bout: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Taha Bendaoud
Bantamweight Bout: Ali Taleb v Nawras Abzakh
Bantamweight Bout: Xavier Alaoui v Rachid El Hazoume
Featherweight Bout: Islam Reda v Adam Meskini
Bantamweight Bout: Tariq Ismail v Jalal Al Daaja
Bantamweight Bout: Elias Boudegzdame v Hassan Mandour
Amateur Female Atomweight Bout: Hattan Al Saif v Nada Faheem
Featherweight Bout: Maraoune Bellagouit v Motaz Askar
Featherweight Bout: Ahmed Tarek v Abdelrahman Alhyasat
Showcase Featherweight Bout: Mido Mohamed v Yazeed Hasanain
Showcase Flyweight Bout: Malik Basahel v Harsh Pandya

UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SAUDI ARABIA RESULTS

Main card
Middleweight:

Robert Whittaker defeated Ikram Aliskerov via knockout (Round 1)
Heavyweight:
Alexander Volkov def Sergei Pavlovich via unanimous decision
Middleweight:
Kelvin Gastelum def Daniel Rodriguez via unanimous decision
Middleweight:
Shara Magomedov def Antonio Trocoli via knockout (Round 3)
Light heavyweight:
Volkan Oezdemir def Johnny Walker via knockout (Round 1)
Preliminary Card
Lightweight:

Nasrat Haqparast def Jared Gordon via split decision
Featherweight:
Felipe Lima def Muhammad Naimov via submission (Round 3)
Welterweight:
Rinat Fakhretdinov defeats Nicolas Dalby via split decision
Bantamweight:
Muin Gafurov def Kang Kyung-ho via unanimous decision
Light heavyweight:
Magomed Gadzhiyasulov def Brendson Ribeiro via majority decision
Bantamweight:
Chang Ho Lee def Xiao Long via split decision

Student Of The Year 2

Director: Punit Malhotra

Stars: Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria, Ananya Pandey, Aditya Seal 

1.5 stars

'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse Of Madness'

Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg and Rachel McAdams

Rating: 3/5

T20 World Cup Qualifier, Muscat

UAE FIXTURES

Friday February 18: v Ireland

Saturday February 19: v Germany

Monday February 21: v Philippines

Tuesday February 22: semi-finals

Thursday February 24: final 

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

No Windmills in Basra

Author: Diaa Jubaili

Pages: 180

Publisher: Deep Vellum Publishing 


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