WHY DUBAI

Written by root. Posted in FEATURES

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Published on November 07, 2016 with No Comments

Dissecting the city’s success and counting its awesome moments.

Words EMMA RAMSAY
Images DUBAI TOURISM

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Piercing the sky is Burj Khalifa, the world’s presently tallest building.

 

 

Dubai is one of the world’s most exhilarating destinations: a glittering city that offers swathes of golden beaches and world-class shopping, dining and nightlife. It hosts electrifying events and sporting championships, and for all the family, is one big, adventurous playground. A place where tradition meets ambition, where the past meets the future. The visionary city is also proud to display its rich heritage and culture.

Extraordinary images of Dubai’s skyline have been seen around the world, but this is a city that must be experienced to be believed. Where else can you spend the morning on the beach, the afternoon snow skiing and the evening camel riding in the desert? Where else can you dive with sharks in a shopping mall and watch dancing fountains at the base of the world’s tallest tower? Whatever your passion, whatever your age – Dubai will never disappoint. And with many more hotels and attractions in the pipeline, no-one can ever truly say they’ve ticked off Dubai. With changes constantly afoot, Dubai is a city that can be visited year after year, after year.

The pace of progress has been phenomenal and it takes some believing to imagine that just 50 years ago Dubai was little more than a fishing village beside the famous Creek. It was here that the Bani Yas tribe and the forefathers of the Maktoum dynasty first settled back in 1800. Even in the 1950s when the rest of the world was exploring space and New York’s Times Square had been illuminated for a good 50 years, Dubai still sat in darkness without electricity. But it was also here that the vision of Dubai first came about. The seeds of ambition were sowed and that small fishing village blossomed into the modern, multicultural and dynamic metropolis we see today.

Dubai dares to dream big – and then turns that dream into reality.

Having welcomed 10 million visitors during the course of the year for the first time in 2012, the emirate’s Tourism Vision for 2020 was declared in May 2013 with the aim of welcoming 20 million visitors a year by 2020.

One year later, having won the bid to host the World Expo in 2020 – during which His Highness Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, promises to “astonish the world” – Dubai is building on that declaration by pursuing its ambition to become The World’s Most Visited City. Yet not just a city to be seen, but a city to be experienced.

Shopping in Dubai is, for example, not just about making purchases – it is also about amazing leisure and cultural opportunities, such as bartering for silk in a historic souq, meeting a colony of king penguins, or coming face to face with one of the world’s largest crocodiles in a shopping mall, and picking up handcrafted trinkets from a market.

Dining in Dubai is not just about eating – it is about sampling cuisines from the 200 nationalities that live here. As a culinary capital not only regionally but increasingly also globally, Dubai has long caught the attention of Michelin-starred chefs and is home to some of the best tastes in the world – flavours that can be savoured in both five-star hotels and pavement cafés.

For the sportsman and adventure seeker, Dubai is about sand boarding down a 100-metre sand dune, camping in the desert, deep-sea fishing, skydiving above Palm Jumeirah and playing camel polo. For culture vultures, Dubai is a city that’s rich in heritage and, increasingly, it’s making its mark on the world stages for art, film, literature, comedy, theatre and music. For all these genres, the city hosts dedicated festivals and events, all combining to create an exciting, packed calendar, including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Throughout the year, city-wide festivals add to the fun, ranging from the legendary Dubai Shopping Festival, which celebrated its 20th year in January 2015, to the hugely successful Dubai Food Festival, now an annual month-long event since its launch in 2014.

And for families, Dubai vows to be the world’s premier family destination, continually building on its portfolio of attractions and events. Few cities offer as many attractions that appeal to all ages as Dubai does. It’s here that families can dash from the ski dome to the desert, from the beach to the park (be it a theme park, water park or sprawling green oasis), and from a multi-screen cinema where butlers serve popcorn to an Olympic-sized ice skating rink.

And with the number of international overnight visitors growing by 8.2% per cent year-on-year in 2014, equating to a total of more than 13.2 million tourists over the course of the year, the pace has been set. To host all these guests, the total number of hotel establishments increased by 7.8 per cent in 2014, equalling 657 properties and 92,333 hotel rooms and apartments – spanning all types of accommodation, from simple guesthouses to five-star resorts located in the city, by the beach and in the middle of the desert. Dubai’s accommodation portfolio is impressive, with hotel companies such as home-grown Jumeirah Group and Emaar Hospitality setting the global standards for luxury and service. And it’s a service-focused ethos adopted by all hotels across the board.

Where else in the world can you have a 24-carat-gold facial in an award-winning spa, swim with dolphins, dine on cuisine cooked up by Michelin-starred chefs, feed sharks and watch a world-class act on the beach at midnight – all without leaving your hotel resort? The answer is a resounding ‘only in Dubai’.

Dubai is a city where the impossible is possible. Where you cannot help but be impressed, awestruck and mesmerised. It’s where holiday dreams come true and where remarkable memories are made that last for a lifetime.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Dubai daily.

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