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Kipp explores the reasons why Dubai stands out in the crowded Gulf, and why some expatriates won’t consider relocating anywhere else in the region.
January 28, 2009 3:05 by Dana El Baltaji
Ultimately, it’s a model that could’ve been implemented anywhere in the Gulf, but hasn’t. Dubai’s fame or notoriety, whichever way you choose to see it, has earned the emirate the world’s attention, for good or bad.
So much so, in fact, that it isn’t something Gulf officials like to talk about to the media. Dubai’s visibility, like other subjects, is an unofficial taboo. Consequently, it is rarely mentioned in the media, and even then, it’s usually explored by international publications. It usually comes in the form of officials in the Gulf who claim they are learning from Dubai’s mistakes.
In an article titled “Is Qatar the Next Dubai?” published by the New York Times in June 2006, Jan Poul de Boer, the director general of the Qatar Tourism Authority was asked what separates Qatar from Dubai:
In Dubai “every single month brings something bigger, never, more fantastic,” he said. “Where do you stop? Is that sustainable? I’m not sure. I don’t want to sound negative toward Dubai, but we have embarked on a different course. We want to be a more exclusive destination.”
Although, until Qatar’s progressive ruler Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani came into power in 1995, the nation played a small (though not inconsequential) role on the world’s stage. Today, however, it hopes the $15 billion the government has been using to build the nation’s infrastructure will create, and maintain a tourism sector.
And where are they getting the inspiration for their projects from?
The closest example they can find: Dubai. Gulf states “are looking at what Dubai did and how Dubai did it,” said Craig Senior, a former Doha hotel executive to the New York Times.