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
But it doesn’t stop at tourism. There’s property and the relatively new Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera), there’s the stock markets and the numerous free zones. The emirate’s willingness to engage foreign investment and to open its markets as quickly as it has – regardless of the mistakes it made in the process – separates the city-state from its considerably more conservative Gulf brothers. It’s a fact that, Essa Kazim, chairman of the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) recognizes.
During an interview with the chairman in September 2008, I asked why Dubai and its markets (financial and otherwise) are incessantly accused of being amateurish by both local and international media, and why every time Dubai stumbles, a battalion of journalists pounce on the story.
“Because they’re jealous,” he said. “They’re jealous of Dubai’s success.”
They might not be too jealous now that Dubai seems to have fallen from grace. Nevertheless, you’d still be hard-pressed to find a Dubaian who’s willing to move to another emirate or Gulf state.
Which brings us back to the title of this piece: why Dubai?
It’s an answer that varies from one nationality to another. According to an official at the Lebanese consulate (who wished to remain anonymous), the Lebanese who don’t have dual citizenship choose to live in Dubai because of the job opportunities and city’s proximity to Lebanon. Dubai is close enough to Beirut to travel home over the weekend, but far enough to allow them to live independently.
According to media reports in the United Kingdom and the United States, many British nationals move to Dubai for the sun and the lack of direct taxation.
Can you remember why you moved to Dubai?