Peter Hellyer's opinion piece Tourists need a place in the village to stop and spend (February 2) is a very good article. I have been to the places he describes many times and always had the same impression that there is nothing there that would encourage tourists to spend some money for a nice souvenir and in this way support the local community. There is the same situation not only at tourist attractions on the east coast, but everywhere in the UAE. Unemployment of Emiratis, even with academic backgrounds, is a major issue in the UAE and obviously there are means like the Khalifa Fund to support small and medium sized companies. I hope that young Emiratis who are looking for an opportunity to build such a company read this article and make a good decision. The market is there, but it has to be discovered. Barbara Schujmacher, Germany
Peter Hellyer's observations about the little pockets of jewels of potential tourist draws in the UAE highlight the positive and negative aspects of actually turning these destinations into popular places to visit. Given the country's knack of loving anything opulent, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise if these little known areas are left as they are, to sustain their rustic charm and raw beauty.
We all know of tourist traps where the quaintness of a picturesque destination has been marred by unscrupulous locals bent on stripping the visiting tourists of their money. My personal opinion is that human nature is such that when there is a potential to make money, it is can be done at a terrible cost. In this instance, I foresee tourists being herded into overpriced souvenir shops to buy products that would gather dust on their shelves.
You also have the cynical, badly behaving tourist who would litter, bad mouth the area and through selfishness, spoil these rustic areas by bad driving and bad personal habits. This is already happening at some of the more popular destinations here. The UAE has gained a name for itself as a luxurious destination by providing the biggest malls and hotels of international standards. It will do itself proud if more effort is made to develop its little, beautiful, cultural sites where the common man lives. SS Uma, Abu Dhabi
I refer to Jessica Hume's opinion article An all-in-one iPad? No, thank you (February 2). Fear not, this isn't an abusive e-mail from an Apple devotee outraged by her article. Rather, it's a note of admiration and thanks for articulating so well what I've been trying to express myself to my iPhone-toting friends, enraptured by the latest "must-have" device.
I have taken the liberty to distribute her article to my many techno-nerd colleagues, who unfortunately insist that she has "missed the point". Nonetheless she is an elected champion of an ever-diminishing group who refuse to fall to their knees and weep with joy every time Steve Jobs makes a stage appearance to flog us another device we don't need. For this, we salute Jessica Hume! Marco Scalet, Abu Dhabi
The article Karzai seeks help of Saudi king (February 2) reported that the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, was travelling to Saudi Arabia to seek help in persuading the Taliban to negotiate a peace agreement. If the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, were to oblige the Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud Al Faisal's demand to expel Osama bin Laden and al Qa'eda from Afghanistan, he would have done so in October 2001 and saved his regime and the people of Afghanistan from terrible devastation by the Americans. Prince Faisal obviously knows that this will not happen. It is more of a charade to keep from getting bogged down in the quagmire that is Afghanistan. Name Withheld by Request
Rupert Wright's opinion article When bankers are driven by greed rather than duty (January 27) is one of the most accurate accounts written anywhere on the topic. It is time to make sense of banking and finance around the globe. The world economy is in dire trouble and greedy bankers will go on being greedy if they are not regulated in all countries. They are kids in a sweet shop who can't help themselves. Tim Craig, Abu Dhabi
I refer to No end in sight to the Maqta Bridge traffic jam, say police (January 31). Are road maintenance works not co-ordinated among the authorities and planned in advance? Why no advanced warnings for weeks beforehand, so people can plan alternative routes like Musaffah Bridge or the Sheikh Khalifa Highway? Ford Desmoineaux, Abu Dhabi