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Why Dubai?

Why Dubai?

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

No, Madinat Jumeirah’s souk is not a real souk. Real souks aren’t clean and they certainly weren’t built in the 21st Century. And no, the spice souk is not all that authentic either. Sure, you can find all sorts of spices, but the men who sell them, mostly Iranian and Indian, speak broken Arabic and haven’t been there for long.

Dubai’s lack of authenticity, however, is part of the deal you make with the city before you visit or move here: if you accept the emirate’s unreal-reality, the business and social possibilities here are only limited by the funds you can muster and the time on your hands. Why else, then, would you choose to live in a place that considers buildings constructed before 1960 ‘historic‘?

It’s precisely the city’s absurdity and it’s famed – some times embarrassing – hyperbolic ambition that brought most expatriates here in the first place. That bullish ambition is what created the jobs that expatriates in Dubai (who haven’t been fired) are clinging to today.

But there’s more to it than just ambition. Ask most Dubaians if they’d consider moving to Bahrain or Qatar, and they’d wince at the thought of it. Dubai, unlike other city-states and nations in the Gulf, has created a social and entertainment niche for itself not only within the Gulf, but also within the Middle East.

The emirate has, without doubt, become the region’s amusement center, or, more significantly, it has become whatever tourists want it to be. The tourism sector’s year on year growth ranges between 8-10 percent, which, given that Dubai started off with little more than more tiny communities, a whole lot of sand and a laughable education system, is impressive.

Which is what makes Dubai an even more interesting place: it could’ve been built anywhere. The Burj Al Arab, The Palm Jumeirah and the enormous shopping malls could’ve been built in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha or Jeddah if it weren’t for the cultural and visionary limitations in practice in some of these locations.

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  1. zouzou on January 28, 2009 6:21 pm

    Dubai with all its problems gives hope to the region. whoever you are you can make it in Dubai it is up to you not up to the connections. look at Egypt and compare it to Dubai.

  2. Dubai Rocks on January 28, 2009 8:44 pm

    hmmm… 2 years back i moved to dubai because i wanted to get rid off the dirty politics of my past company. today i am lagging behind in terms of luxury, salary, position, etc. compare to my past company’s colleagues ! in addition this i feel my present job is insecure despite of working in the dubai’s no. 1 company (giant non-oil company of dubai) while my past job was secure as i was working in the india’s no. 1 private company which will remain no.1 in india forever. this year salary raise canceled but rent, food, other costs are still raising…. What to do now?????? Where to go?????

  3. DG on January 29, 2009 7:54 am

    Undoubtedly the most multicultural city in the Middle East. I saw Dubai blossom between 1996 and 2006. I moved to another GCC state not because of I wanted to , but because Dubai had moved out of the realm of normalcy into a frenzied construction site. Many parts of the city were also starting to resemble Disneyland. What I moved into was a less exciting , but more normal city for family.Social conversation did not revolve predominantly about flipping properties and making money in casino style schemes. A great break. When Dubai gets normal again I’ll be back, and in a way , its been a great decision to look at it from the outside for a while.

  4. marwan on January 29, 2009 10:01 am

    Dubai is magic, there something about it that u cant find else where, its young and hip and crazy. lot of other parts of the gulf talk down to dubai but without dubai where they well be?lets be real but do u belive that if there was no dubai that someone in the middleeast well think about shopping festivals or islands that build in the sea or cities within the cities ?i dont think so and if u go to any other gulf city u gonna see just copys of dubai here and there and why u go to the copys when u can enjoy the original and the real thing?maybe its hard for dubai now but like the phenix it well rise again better and stronger and wiser. and let me tell u , i dont care about how much money they offer me i’ll never ever leave dubai . its the jewel of the middle east and it always well be .

  5. NG on January 29, 2009 10:27 am

    I came to this country to support my family, single woman coming to Dubai from India was unheard of in late 1990’s. Today I am proud to say Dubai is my home away from home. Dubai has offered me a lot, security, stability above all helped to fulfil my responsibilities.
    I have had my share of ups & downs in Dubai, but when I look back 15 years, it has not only given my family an opportunity to settle down & live a comfortable life, get my siblings educated and married but also made me pursue my career goals, continue education and so many other things. Dubai is the place where I met my husband!!
    What more can I ask from Dubai? All I have to say is “THANK YOU DUBAI, THANK YOU UAE for letting me come here to work and make a living�

    My work takes me to far of places and looking at my colleagues in other GCC countries, I feel proud be a Dubaian… the immigration rules are much relaxed here than other countries, we don’t have state another occupation on our residence visa to work legally in the UAE or nor do we require to wait for our sponsor to give an approval to exit the country.. Surely I’m not going to relocate to another GCC countries. I left my previous job just because I was asked to up charge in another GCC country….

    There so many other reasons that Dubai or UAE is better place to live compared to the other cities..

    I pity the people who cant stop complaining about anything and everything.. Seriously, instead of asking what Dubai has given us, please ask yourself what you have given Dubai in return. We all here because of our job aka Residence Visa, we work and we get paid and remit our salaries back home. What has Dubai gained from us??

    Today Dubai needs us, instead of playing the blame game, we should try to contribute in some way to help Dubai come back to what is was..
    Any suggestions???

  6. iPaw on January 29, 2009 4:50 pm

    I like Dubai ?
    I love Dubai !
    Dubai’s in my bloooood !
    Lets just keep on spending in Dubai!


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