In 2018, visitors to Dubai spent $30.82 billion. This puts Dubai at the top of the list in terms of visitor spending. It seems that Dubai really is the spending capital of the world. What makes this city-state so popular, though?
Is it the state of the art facilities the city offers? Could it be the outstanding range of shopping experiences? Is it that the city is very tourist- and business-friendly? Or is it the undeniable magic of the blend between traditional Arabic culture and modern societal norms?
Dubai is a city of contrasts – at once proud of its heritage and not afraid to embrace modernisation. This city-state has so much to offer, it’s hardly any wonder that tourists and business people flock there.
In this post, we’ll look at why Dubai is the world’s favourite destination.
The Gateway to the Gulf
Dubai is one of the most business-friendly states in the Gulf. The state actively encourages business investments through business-friendly tax regulations and the so-called free zones. Not all companies are required to pay taxes in the state.
Starting a business in the Gulf generally means that you have to take on a local business partner. Dubai has free zones in it that make this requirement unnecessary.
From your base in the city, it’s easy enough to travel to the other Emirate states. Abu Dhabi, for example, is a little over an hour’s drive away. The roads between the different Emirates are excellent, making travel simple.
Popular Stopover Point for Many Flights
Many international flights use Dubai as a stopover point for longer flights. The airport is well-equipped to deal with this influx of transitory visitors.
Outstanding Transport System
One thing that really sets Dubai apart is its transport system. You can travel the entire length of the city from the airport on one of the two metro lines. Missed your train? No problem, you can just wait five minutes for the next one.
Metro tickets are inexpensive, making traveling this route very affordable. The stations have a decent security presence. Though, to be fair, with barely any crime at all, there’s not much need for that.
The police mainly give tourists directions and ensure that men do not use the compartments set aside for women.
In addition to the metro, there’s also an efficient bus service and many taxi services.
Dubai has a fantastic road and rail system. The roads are clearly marked, so finding your way around is fairly simple. Housing and accommodation are plentiful and the city provides thoughtful facilities. Here the bus stops are mostly enclosed and air-conditioned.
On the Subject of Crime
Coming from South Africa, it took a while to get used to how safe it is in Dubai. Crime is virtually non-existent. You can walk around the city late at night without fear.
On my first day there, we saw the cash in transit people loading an ATM. They didn’t even carry firearms and were quite open about the fact that they were carrying cash.
Shopping Experiences for Every Budget
Dubai certainly is a city of contrasts Head over to the Souks and haggle your way to a great deal or shop at some of the world’s finest designer stores. There’s something for everybody there.
The Gold Souk is a magical place with some of the finest goldsmiths in the world. If you’d like something a little simpler, head over to one of the malls. They even have vending machines that you can buy gold from.
I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of old Dubai and New Dubai. To be fair, there’s not that many old buildings in Dubai itself. If you head over to the Souks, though, you’ll find business being conducted in much the same way as it has been for centuries.
Driving through the city, my first thought was that it’s the city of a thousand mosques. The official total in 2013 was 1,418 mosques. Seeing the traditional beauty of Islamic architecture alongside modern skyscrapers is quite a sight. It’s also always great to see a thoroughly modern city that embraces its cultural roots.
The Tourist Attractions are the Biggest Drawcard
We could fill pages and pages talking about the biggest tourist attractions in Dubai. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the current ruler’s brother, was a forward-thinking man.
Oil was struck in Dubai in 1986, and H.H.Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum decided to use the proceeds to build the tourist economy. With governments increasingly working on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, this was a very savvy move.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has continued to work on making Dubai one of the top business and tourist locations.
The Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is not to be missed. It’s the world’s tallest building and has one of the world’s fastest elevators. Be warned – the viewing deck is 555 metres from the ground. The platform is encased in glass, allowing unobstructed views of Dubai.
The Burj al Arab
The Burj al Arab is one of the most expensive hotels in the world but it’s the place to stay if you want gold bathroom fittings. It’s considered a seven-star hotel. If you’ve got the money to stay there, there’s no experience to match it. At the very least, treat yourself to tea there one afternoon.
If you enjoy retail shopping, don’t miss the Mall of the Emirates. To be fair, it’s hard to miss this mall. At about a mile long, it’s billed as a shopping resort. That’s an accurate way of describing it.
It features a cineplex, and a ski resort complete with snow. There are several sections within the mall with different décor styles and shops. Top designer brands are represented here. You’ll also find international favourites like H&M, Lego, and Hallmark.
Do wear comfortable shoes for your visit – there’s a lot of ground to cover. If you’re bad at remembering where you parked, take a taxi instead. There are seven floors of parking here.
The Dubai Mall is also huge and features an indoor aquarium and outstanding sculpture wall.
Experience the Culture
If you’re brave enough, head out to the desert for some dune-bashing. At the very least, visit a traditional Bedouin camp and enjoy a meal under the stars.
Don’t forget to book a Dhow Cruise and enjoy the sites and sounds of the Creek.
Finally, do stop off at one of the big hotels for a Friday brunch. It’s an experience well worth enjoying
Dubai deserves to be the most popular tourist destination. Where else can you climb off a thoroughly modern train system and then hop onto an Abra to cross the creek? Why not arrange a private tour and see for yourself?