Magazine article The Middle East

Cosmopolitan Dubai

Magazine article The Middle East

Cosmopolitan Dubai

Article excerpt

DUBAI'S EASY GOING cosmopolitan lifestyle makes it an obvious choice for business and recreation. In little more than 20 years the emirate has developed from quiet backwater on the creek into a vibrant, bustling centre of banking, business, communication and recreation. Dubai's strategic position at the bottom of the Gulf has assisted its development but the government has also worked tirelessly to promote Dubai as a destination with much to offer and its efforts have paid dividends. This long established trading centre is currently a regional home for many international trading companies and also a popular holiday resort for Europeans in search of somewhere new and exciting.

Despite being categorised with other oil producing Gulf states, Dubai contributes only 20% of the total oil exports of the UAE and has always had a much stronger base in commerce which historians believe goes back as far as the 4th century BC. Much of Dubai's development has been funded from oil revenues but since reserves are dwindling, the government's hope is that the facilities built with oil wealth will provide Dubai with a self-sustaining non-oil economy long after its final reserves are depleted.

The commercial heritage of the emirate has been consolidated under the reign of three successive rulers -- Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher, Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum. The present ruler, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum, carries on the tradition of developing Dubai.

Sheikh Rashid in particular played a vital part in taking Dubai into the 20th century with his foresight and business acumen. He was the driving force behind such projects as the two large ports, the modern airport, the Free Zone, the huge Dubal aluminium smelter and many other business enterprises. Jebel Ali Port is the largest man made port in the world, whilst the adjacent Jebel Ali Free Zone houses a busy community of factories and businesses taking advantage of the tax free trading. …

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