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Dubai is the most populous city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the second largest emirate by territorial size after the capital, Abu Dhabi.
Dubai is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that make up the country. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the only two emirates to have veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country’s legislature. The city of Dubai is located on the emirate’s northern coastline and heads up the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. Dubai is to host World Expo 2020.
Dubai has emerged as a global city and business hub of the Persian Gulf region. It is also a major transport hub for passengers and cargo. By the 1960s Dubai’s economy was based on revenues from trade and, to a smaller extent, oil exploration concessions, but oil was not discovered until 1966. Oil revenue first started to flow in 1969. Dubai’s oil revenue helped accelerate the early development of the city, but its reserves are limited and production levels are low: today, less than 5% of the emirate’s revenue comes from oil. The emirate’s Western-style model of business drives its economy with the main revenues now coming from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events
Dubai’s gross domestic product as of 2011 was US $83.4 billion. Although Dubai’s economy was built on the back of the oil industry, revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 7% of the emirate’s revenues.
It is estimated that Dubai produces 50,000 to 70,000 barrels (7,900 to 11,100 m3) of oil a day and substantial quantities of gas from offshore fields. The emirate’s share in UAE’s gas revenues is about 2%. Dubai’s oil reserves have diminished significantly and are expected to be exhausted in 20 years.
Real estate and construction (22.6%), trade (16%), entrepôt (15%) and financial services (11%) are the largest contributors to Dubai’s economy. Dubai’s top exporting destinations include India (US$5.8 billion), Switzerland (US$2.37 billion) and Saudi Arabia (US$0.57 billion). Dubai’s top re-exporting destinations include India (US$6.53 billion), Iran (US$5.8 billion) and Iraq (US$2.8 billion). The emirate’s top import sources are India (US$12.55 billion), China (US$11.52 billion) and the United States (US$7.57 billion). As of 2009, India was Dubai’s largest trade partner.
Historically, Dubai and its twin across Dubai Creek, Deira (independent of Dubai City at that time), were important ports of call for Western manufacturers.
Most of the new city’s banking and financial centres were headquartered in the port area. Dubai maintained its importance as a trade route through the 1970s and 1980s.
Dubai has a free trade in gold and, until the 1990s, was the hub of a “brisk smuggling trade” of gold ingots to India, where gold import was restricted. Dubai’s Jebel Ali port, constructed in the 1970s, has the largest man-made harbour in the world and was ranked seventh globally for the volume of container traffic it supports.
Dubai is also a hub for service industries such as information technology and finance, with industry-specific free zones throughout the city.
Dubai Internet City, combined with Dubai Media City as part of TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority), is one such enclave, whose members include IT firms such as Hewlett-Packard, EMC Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, and IBM, and media organisations such as MBC, CNN, BBC, Reuters, Sky News and AP.
The United Arab Emirates is ranked 63 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of 0.103554
Top 5 Products exported by The United Arab Emirates
- Refined Petroleum (13%),
- Gold (9.2%),
- Petroleum Gas (7.4%),
- Jewellery (3.5%)
- Petroleum Gas (7.4%),
- Jewellery (3.5%)
Top 5 Export destinations of The United Arab Emirates
- Japan (24%),
- India (21%),
- Singapore (8.4%),
- South Korea (8.3%),
- China (5.9%)
Top 5 Products imported by The United Arab Emirates
- Jewellery (11%),
- Refined Petroleum (5.7%),
- Gold (5.6%),
- Broadcasting Equipment (3.8%)
Top 5 Import origins of The United Arab Emirates
- India (18%),
- China (17%),
- Germany (7.1%),
- United States (6.1%),
- Japan (5.0%)
Tourism is an important part of the Dubai government’s strategy to maintain the flow of foreign cash into the emirate. Dubai’s lure for tourists is based mainly on shopping, but also on its possession of other ancient and modern attractions. As of 2013, Dubai was the 7th most visited city of the world based on air traffic and the fastest growing, increasing by a 10.7% rate. Dubai is expected to accommodate over 15 million tourists by 2015. The emirate is also the most populous of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai has been called the “shopping capital of the Middle East”.Dubai alone has more than 70 shopping centres, including the world’s largest shopping centre, Dubai Mall. The city draws large numbers of shopping tourists from countries within the region and from as far as Eastern Europe, Africa and the Indian Sub-continent.
Dubai is also known for the traditional souk districts located on either side of the stream. Traditionally, dhows from East Asia, China, Sri Lanka, and India would discharge their cargo and the goods would be bargained over in the souks adjacent to the docks. Dubai Creek played a vital role in the sustainment of life of the community in Dubai originally and was the setting point which caused the economic boom in Dubai. As of September 2013, Dubai creek has been proposed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many boutiques and jewellery stores are also found in the city. Dubai is also known as “the City of Gold” as Gold Souk in Deira houses nearly 250 gold retail shops. Dubai Duty Free (DDF) at the Dubai International Airport offers merchandise catering to the multinational passengers using the airport.
- Dubai is a mixture of old and new, traditional and modern. From old traditional souks and historical buildings (now being preserved for cultural reasons or already part of the national heritage) to modern Dubai’s overwhelming shopping malls, incredible artificial islands and giant modern skyscrapers that include the world’s tallest building, Dubai is a world in itself and offers plenty of wonderful attractions.
- The city has numerous museums and historical buildings, but Dubai Museum is a must see for a first-time traveller to the Emirates. It provides a glimpse of the old life of Dubai, its people and their culture and heritage.
- Dubai has a justified reputation as a concrete jungle, but there are nice pockets of greenery within the city, such as Safa Park. The city parks are modern and very well-maintained, with the most popular located in Jumeirah.