I love Dubai. I have been living here since 2008, working as an independent consultant in telecommunications and mobile apps and in its booming ‘smart’ real estate sector, and I have been privileged to witness the growth in this city over the last decade.
Trade and tourism boost Dubai’s fortunes
Both trade and tourism have pushed Dubai into the enviable position of being one of the top five fastest growing cities in the world, according to a report by the Brookings Institute, which surveys metropolitan economies. Its stats show just how far Dubai has come in the last five years. For example, in 2013, Dubai ranked 13th in Brookings’ world city survey and in 2012 it was ranked at 167 out of 300. In 2010 it was placed at 149 out of 150 cities. Now it’s in the top five. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates is nowhere near Dubai’s ranking, partly because its GDP relies on oil prices, which have fluctuated in recent years to Abu Dhabi’s detriment, whereas Dubai’s GDP has the international trade and tourism sectors to boost its growth. Small wonder that Abu Dhabi is working on positioning itself as more of a cultural hub, with the opening of international art galleries, as a way of diversifying its economy.
Dubai has succeeded through ambition. It has ski slopes in the desert, an aquarium in a shopping mall, which also happens to be one of the most spectacular shopping malls in the world. It has an incredible selection of five-star hotels and its commercial and residential real estate has grown like daisies. Like Abu Dhabi, Dubai does sit on oil, but its rulers recognised that relying on oil would not deliver a sustainable income to the city-state; hence it wisely diversified into real estate and tourism.
It developed Emirates airline, which is one of the biggest in the world.
This is likely to make it a ‘crossroads’ for international travellers, and further boost Dubai’s position as major travel hub and as a result, its services sector will benefit from even higher numbers of visitors.
Dubai as an investment location
Dubai has low logistical and operational costs and an excellent infrastructure. It also has and international outlook and its more liberal government policies are attracting investors. Activities such as trade, transport, tourism, industry and finance have shown steady growth and helped the economy to achieve a high degree of expansion and diversification.
I can also tell you that it has a number of other advantages including cost, market and environmental advantages that create an ideal and attractive investment climate for both local and expatriate businesses. These things combined, place it at the forefront of the world’s dynamic, emerging economies. And, it is a time zone bridge between the Far East and Europe and a bridge to Africa for trade from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that include Russia, Ukraine and all the ‘Stans’.
International companies setting up in Dubai are provided with competitive cost structures that are unavailable elsewhere and it offers a high quality of life to their employees. Dubai has come a long way in the last decade and whilst it has a bold vision for the future, it will handle it in a sustainable way that firmly establishes it as a meeting point for world trade, as well as a fantastic place to enjoy a luxurious holiday.