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Dubai transformed itself into a global business hub and a luxury tourist destination, becoming among the wealthiest states globally. Its economy is vibrant and diverse and generates revenue in various ways. It includes manufacturing, providing services, and tourism. So, unlike its neighbors, whose economies rely on oil, Dubai has a diversified economic base resting on finance, trade, transportation, tourism, oil, and technology industries. Free trade, a low tax rate, and zero income tax have made Dubai a popular business hub and a wealthy state.

Dubai is also the gateway to the East and boasts of the world’s highest international passenger flow. It is a world-renowned destination for all travelers, including the rich and famous. Dubai is a magnificent metropolis that isn’t ashamed to flaunt its wealth. Hence, it has a solid appeal to the elite and affluent worldwide, transforming it into a luxury tourist destination. The city boasts the world’s only seven-star hotel on the tallest building on earth, the Burj Al Arab.

Dubai has a combined wealth of $312bn and is the top city in Africa and the Middle East and the fourth largest wealth center worldwide. The city lives up to its prosperous reputation and provides everything you need to succeed, including the capital, market, world-class infrastructure, and a secure environment. Even the cops in Dubai have a high standard of living. It is the only city globally where police officers drive Bugattis, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis rather than ordinary sedans.

The Background, How Did it All Start?

The pearl trade was the principal source of income in the Trucial States, known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from the 1770s until the late 1930s. Pearl diving was the humble beginning in trade for the peaceful fishing communities of the Persian Gulf, but it set the stage for today’s magnificent and world-renowned city of Dubai.

From the 1940s, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were at loggerheads over their northern border, which persisted even after the formation of the UAE in 1971. In 1979, hostilities between the two states ended after a formal agreement that allowed Dubai relative independence over its economy.

In the late 1950s, following the border clashes, Abu Dhabi thrived because of high oil revenues, while Dubai experienced financial challenges. The situation prompted Sheik Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, to develop innovative and transformative solutions. He identified infrastructure as the key long-term economic driver and invested heavily in developing the international airport and seaport.

1960 saw the completion of Dubai’s first airport, and the dredging of Dubai Creek began in 1963. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum had to borrow vast amounts of money, billions of dollars, to complete the project. It turned out to be a massive success because it opened the port to all ocean-going vessels and launched the gold re-export market.

The Turning Point

In 1966, Dubai discovered oil and began shipment in 1969. The oil and the creation of the Riyal, a new currency with the newly independent state of Qatar, enabled Dubai to expand and develop fast. Dubai invested the oil revenues in building the city’s infrastructure, which contributed to the tourism boom and economic diversification. Today, the tourism industry accounts for close to 20% of Dubai’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The infrastructure also spurred an expansion in trade and industry. And, throughout the 1980s, Dubai continued to diversify its revenue streams to compete with Abu Dhabi’s rising oil profits. In 1985, Dubai developed its first free zone in Jafza, its largest free economic zone globally. Then, an extra 30 new free zones clusters where foreigners enjoy tax discounts, custom duty exemptions, and other benefits.

The new free zones include:

  • Dubai Maritime City – with many facilities, including waterfronts and harbors
  • Dubai Media City – a tax-free zone to boost Dubai’s signature in the global media
  • Dubai Internet City- an internet technology zone with ownership and tax-related benefits

As a result, many international companies flocked to Dubai. The Jafza businesses account for 20% of all foreign investment. About 144,000 employees produce close to $80 billion in non-oil money and account for 21 percent of Dubai’s GDP. The oil business represents less than five percent of the economy.

Dubai’s thriving maritime activities are a great source of the city’s wealth. Jebel Ali, the city’s massive trading port, is the busiest port in Africa and the Middle East. Dubai’s position makes it ideal for maritime business. It attracts merchants from all around the region and globally. Moreover, Jebel Ali sits within the Jafza, called Jebel Ali Free Zone. It means the port is one of Dubai’s most valuable assets.

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Dubai Today

Dubai is the shopping, commercial, business, and investment capital of Africa and the Middle East and one of the top cities globally. The city features some of the most amazing infrastructures worldwide, in the area between the Dubai International Airport to the Dubai Mall. The city has also emerged as the leading global tourist destination. It hosts some of the most prominent hotels globally, exotic resorts, and fantastic desert landscapes.

Visitors can easily rent a luxury car in Dubai, with or without a driver, to take them around during their stay. It offers a more flexible, convenient, and cost-effective way of meeting one’s personal and business needs. Moreover, it boosts one’s presence when visiting popular shopping destinations such as the Mall of The Emirates, famous hotels and resorts in Ras Al Khaimah, and unique monuments like Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It will also enable them to tour the major tourist sites spread across the country in style.

Today, Dubai is heterogeneous, dynamic, and world-renowned as the Playground of Millionaires and the City of Gold. The city lives up to its reputation by offering excellent, world-class infrastructure and facilities. It creates a fantastic setting for business and investment as well as relaxation and comfort. So, millions of shoppers, business people, investors, and tourists visit Dubai every year.