A Few Days Vacation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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This was an interesting trip. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was certainly surprised. I think that most people living in the Western World have some prejudice against the Arab world. I certainly thought I would feel a bit uneasy in an Arab State. We are used to personal freedom and modern thinking and from what we usually read about the Arab world, we believe the opposite.
Well, so let me tell you about Dubai. None of the above is true. I have rarely felt so easy, and safe in a place. People were extremely friendly, modern, and liberal. Leaving all the glimmer of the new sky scrapers behind, this openess is probably what impressed or shall I say "surprised" me the most. In a world where war had been around the corner, you find an easy way of live almost like in California. This of course is no surprise. Oil has been running out for years and is supposed to be finished in 10 years (Dubai only). Dubai had to diversify severly in order to continue living the style that they have in the past decades since oil had been found.
Dubai is betting on Tourism to fill the financial hole as well as building up trade and finance centers for the region. The most obvious signs are certainly changes for the tourist industry. a 750m tall sky scraper (unfinished), two more 1200m tall skyscrapers being built, a 3.5bn square feet amusement park called Dubailand (being built), and all the other tons of construction sites to build the tallest, biggest, coolest, most innovative buildings in the world. Everything of course needs to be #1,cost does not matter. Whether it's a 2000 feet ski trail inside the world's largest shopping mall, or simply the fact that Dubai is building another 100 5 star resorts (currently 48), to attract more high end tourists. The Islands are just as impressive and surprisingly there is a good reason to build them. Dubai wanted more beach fronts for tourists and this would only be possible by adding islands. Multiple small islands would naturally create the largest amount of beach front properties and the center (palm stem) would allow for the fastest access to all individual islands. The Palm was not planned to be a tree or even anything, it just turned out to look that way and was then modified somewhat, to add some more hype to these island.
Anyhow, behind the scenes Dubai is adding more runways and Dubai's International airport is supposed to be as large as Chicago's O'Hare when it opens. The country will create another low cost airline, to attract more visitors from nearby destinations and Emirates Airline has ordered another 450 aircrafts including 58 Airbus A380. The tourism world is shaking their heads... can anyone compete???
Anyhow, Dubai is fun because of its diversified population (some 95% foreigners). It offers great food, great shopping, luxury, and beaches. However, it does not offer a whole lot of Arab culture, which I think is the key missing ingredient to make Dubai a truly attractive tourist destination. If you want to go there, you should but don't plan on staying more than 4-5 days.
All people at the conference were pondering about whether Dubai's plan would be feasible or not. I think that Dubai will most likely need to change a few things, adding Casino's and some of the unwanted nightlife:) The success would then depend on whether the conservative surrounding countries will accept this. We'll see...
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1. Apr 18, 2008 A Few Days Vacation in Dubai (Dubai) ( 137)
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