Ryan, C. & Stewart, M. (2009). Eco-tourism and luxury – the case of AI Maha, Dubai. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 17(3), 287-301.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2695
This paper examines the issues raised by Al Maha in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a 27 km2 resort within the 225 km2 Dubai Desert Conservation Zone that offers luxurious accommodation in 40 suites, each with its own swimming pool. Its appeal is based on luxury, but it also offers insights into desert culture, heritage and the fauna and flora of the Arabian Desert. Much of that desert has become severely degraded by 200 years of camel grazing. Al Maha claims eco-tourism status through its desert regeneration programme. Is eco-tourism compatible with luxury? Given an official Emirati ecological perspective of desert greening, is desert reclamation consistent with wider UAE greening policies? Does ecologically motivated reclamation based on revenue from luxury-based tourism condone ecologically unaware tourist behavior?
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