Dubai’s appeal as one of the world’s leading destinations continues to flourish, with tourism now constituting 30 percent of the city’s growing GDP. The lure of the emirate with its offer of unparalleled luxury combined with Arabian charm, has helped promote Dubai to an ever-widening audience. Hotel and hotel apartments recorded an astounding 6.5 million guests in 2006, generating revenues in excess of £1.52 billion.
Dubai’s strategy to diversify its economy beyond oil revenues and expand into other major economic sectors has laid the foundation for success. In 2006, oil revenues were reduced to only 3 per cent of the national GDP, compared with 10 per cent in 2000. This shrewd tactic of diversification has reaped its rewards with the continued strong growth and innovation which characterise Dubai.
Dubai’s prosperous growth owes much to its location as a gateway between East and West. This factor combined with year-round sunshine, world-class infrastructure, excellent levels of service and facilities including restaurants, shops, hotels and spas, all make Dubai an extremely attractive destination.
Dubai continues to lead the way expanding its portfolio of attractions, activities and properties to meet the needs of a growing market. Drawing the attention of a global audience, Dubai creates iconic developments that pioneer new experiences and set the emirate apart from its competitors.
Over recent years Dubai has attracted worldwide attention through its growing list of superlatives - the first indoor ski slope in the desert - Ski Dubai; the world’s tallest hotel - the Burj Al Arab; 2008 will see the opening of the world’s largest airport - Dubai World Central International Airport which will have a capacity of 120 million passengers a year, the Dubai Mall which will be the world’s largest shopping mall, and Burj Dubai which is set to be the world’s tallest building. Also present is Dubailand which will be the world’s largest theme park; and the three islands of The Palm project, containing the largest man made islands in the world, visible from the moon!
Dubai’s economic diversification is also apparent in its creation of free zones, which offer numerous new business opportunities for international companies. There are 15 already in existence including Dubai Airport Free Zone, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, with a minimum of ten more already planned for the future.
The growth of Dubai’s economy has been unprecedented. In 2000 Dubai’s ambition of achieving a 10 per cent growth in its GDP was announced, by 2005 this had already been surpassed.
“Dubai maintains its position as a leader within the region by demonstrating the ability to successfully diversify its economy whilst sustaining consistent growth. The next few years will look to build on previous successes and continue to expand the wealth of experiences which Dubai offers,” comments Bärbel Kirchner, director of the UK and Ireland representative office of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Indeed, the proactive reaction from Dubai has been to launch a financial plan which sets a new goal of achieving economic growth of 11 per cent per annum by 2015 and to almost double its workforce. This would triple the emirate’s GDP to £54.8 billion, and will be achieved through trade, transportation, tourism and financial services.