Dubai is just one emirate out of the 7 that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE is just one out of the 15 nations that come under the flagship of the Middle Eastern Countries. In just a few decades, Dubai has transformed itself from a simple pearl-diving industry into a super-ambitious, ever-renewing, dynamic metropolis. Dubai is the most celebrated of all these countries, and no one is arguing this fact. How did this come about? Did the rulers of the UAE plan to create a massive tourist-draw in the Middle East and is Dubai the result of it? If so, what was the vision behind this development? Let’s take a look!
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Dubai – A Brief History
Dubai was an almost unheard-of emirate in the 1940’s and 50’s, when the city started prospering in the gold trade. The city’s population was just 40,000 at this point. And that was when the miracle occurred – a veritable rush of black gold pulsed out of the desert sand during the mid-1960s. Dubai’s economy, as well as the UAE’s economy, went into super-overdrive. This led to an overnight influx of foreign workers who poured into the city to work on various projects. As time went on, oil prices kept going up, and so did Dubai’s economy.
The Emirate cleverly focused on developing free-trade and tourism, and both flourished. The Dubai Financial Market was established in the year 2000, which brought millions of dollars to the city’s coffers. The Jebel Ali Free Zone also scaled up, contributing 26% towards Dubai’s total GDP in 2007. In a stroke of pure genius, the Crown Prince of Dubai decided to allow foreign nationals to own freehold property within Dubai. This opened up the floodgates, with foreigners buying up prime pieces of land and the many luxury apartments and homes that have been constructed on Jumeirah Beach Residence and the Palm Jumeirah.
How Dubai Transformed Into The World’s Best Known Destination
A rush of oil money brought Dubai swimming up out of the desert sand into the 21st century. Flush with oil money, local businessmen invested heavily in tourism and tourist attractions. At some point, Dubai’s leaders decided that they wanted to be a city of the Biggest, Tallest and Best. And that’s what put Dubai squarely on the map – as the most popular and most celebrated Middle Eastern destination.
Beginning in the early 2000s, Dubai commenced an aggressive construction mandate, dedicating vast empty lots to building incredible, mind-blowing attractions. The city started reclaiming land from the very sea to build the magnificent manmade island, the Palm Jumeirah. Even before the Palm was completed, the Dubai Mall with its underwater aquarium and the Dubai Fountain on the 37-acre Burj Lake were under way. Since then, Dubai hasn’t looked back. Soon Ain Dubai (the Dubai Eye) will be open, along with the Dubai Frame, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Canal, the Dubai Safari Park, Deira Fish Market and the Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre. Most of these will be open by end-2017 and some will be open by the first quarter of 2018. We can only wonder what 2018-2019 will bring in terms of incredible attractions in Dubai.
Best Attractions Of Dubai
When you visit Dubai, don’t miss the chance to pay homage to the majestic Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The Dubai Mall, the Dubai Fountain and the Burj Lake are directly opposite, creating an area of intense tourist focus. The Dubai Parks and Resorts are not to be missed, as are Souq Madinat, the Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence Walk, Dubai Creek, the Arabian Desert and much more. The list of Dubai’s top attractions is quite long, so take in the sights you can according to your travel schedule.
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Dubai – The Party City Of The Middle East!
There’s a popular acknowledgement among tourists that Dubai is THE Middle Eastern party city. That is, if you can afford to party at Dubai. Travelers to Dubai are prepared for this fact, though, and they’re ready to spend. Budget travelers can still enjoy plenty of nightlife as well; there are places where a single drink and the night’s entertainment are free. Partying in Dubai isn’t about spending money; it’s about enjoying yourself at night in this incredibly beautiful city.
Head out to Neos in Downtown Dubai, or to the beaches, or to one of the many nightclubs and hotels near the Dubai Marina. You’ll realize that every significant building in Dubai offers incredible views of the city from its windows. World-class DJs are regularly invited to perform during festive occasions at several top clubs. Nasimi Beach Restaurant at Atlantis the Palm is one such club where you can see the best DJ action, with the parties going on till dawn.
Of course, it has to be understood that Dubai is an Islamic city and as such drinking in public is prohibited. Party goers are required to strictly adhere to the law in regards to alcohol, which is available only in certain areas. However, even with this restriction, Dubai is a party-spirited city because of the intense focus on quality music, quality infrastructure, quality ambience and food. World-class music and top-tier décor make a huge difference; you simply cannot help but jive and enjoy yourself, even if you’re only holding orange juice in your hands.
Dubai – The New Cultural Capital Of The East
Dubai regularly organizes music concerts, dance performances and Bollywood performances at the Dubai Opera. A true religious democracy exists in the city, with people celebrating the Hindu festival Diwali along with Christmas and Halloween and Thanksgiving with equal gusto. Fabulous pyrotechnic displays take place at every vantage point during the New Year’s celebrations. Don’t miss the Dubai International Jazz Festival when some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians perform. The Dubai Art Festival, Food Festival, Festival of Taste, Film Festival and several others show that Dubai has established itself as the veritable cultural capital of the east.
Fascinating Facts About Dubai Tourism
Here are a few fascinating Dubai tourism-related facts that’ll keep you entertained!
- Dubai is already in possession of a total of 82,760 rooms across the city, according to STR, the well-known research group. In keeping with its plans for Expo 2020, the city is going out of its way to open new hotels to arrive at an additional 10,000 new hotel rooms. The additional rooms are in preparation to welcome a whopping 20 million anticipated visitors.
- Unfortunately, though the rooms have been in place now for a while, the supply has far exceeded the demand till end 2016. The good news for tourists is that due to the additional empty rooms, hotel room prices have dropped from Dhs859 to Dhs811 in most top hotels.
- The UAE government is building budget-friendly holiday packages in order to lure greater numbers of Chinese and African middle-class tourists to the Emirates. This move is to veto the impression that Dubai is a luxury destination and only the very rich can tour it with any satisfaction. This move also shows that even though Dubai has developed into a luxury tourism hotspot, the government has realized that in order to attract 20 million yearly tourists, cheap and ready accommodation must be made available.
Best Time To Visit Dubai
Weather Considerations: Dubai burns hot throughout the year, except from November to February, when the weather cools down a bit. Dubai enjoys what’s known as a tropical desert climate, with very hot and dry summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures go higher than 45 degree Celsius and range from 14 to 23 degree Celsius in winter. If the heat and humidity are not a problem, you can visit Dubai at any time of the year. However, if you’re from milder climes, it’s best to visit Dubai from December through March when the climate is fairly salubrious and more suited to people with heat sensitivity.
Winter Festivals: During the winter time, the government organizes more festivals, including the grand, city-wide Food Festival in February.
Reduced Fares: Also, airline ticket rates and rates for hotel accommodation will be reduced during winter. Do take advantage of that.
Ramadan: If you are planning a visit during the holy month of Ramadan, this year between July and August, be aware that there are restrictions on food consumption in public during the day time. Tourists may find it hard to survive during Ramadan, because the fasting rules apply to everyone. Even tourists are not allowed to eat food in public during the morning/afternoon times. But, some restaurants do offer take-away or even deliver food at your hotel/home and you can eat in private.
Despite the restriction on alcohol and the rules with regard to public behavior, Dubai has exceeded everyone’s expectations as a tourist destination par excellence. Seldom do people focus on all the restrictions when they think of Dubai; what strikes them is the fabulous infrastructure and the total adherence to quality in every aspect. Dubai does not stint on money when it comes to spending on tourism, and you can see that when you check out the hotels and clubs and every public attraction in the city. When a city takes that much care to see that its tourists are happy and satisfied, it’s no wonder that such a city should be considered the most celebrated among all others when it comes to tourism.