Dubai is one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose main city is also called Dubai. It is the most populated and the second largest emirate in the region. Its strategic geographic location made the town an important trading center, and by the beginning of the 20th century, Dubai was already an important regional harbor.
In 2012, it was rated by the American global consulting firm Mercer as one of the best places to live in the Middle East.
Dubai is located on the north-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Dhabi on the south, Sharjah on the northeast, and Oman on the southeast. It originally had a land area of 1,500 mi² but due to land reclamation from the sea projects, it has now a land area of 4,114 km² or 1,588 miles. It is bordered by Abu Dhabi on the south, Sharjah on the north-east, and Oman on the south-east.
Dubai has a tropical desert climate because of its location within the Northern desert belt. Summers are extremely hot, humid and very dry, with an average high around 40 °C (104 °F) yet usually higher than 40, and overnight lows around 30 °C (86 °F). The highest recorded temperature in Dubai is 48.5 °C (119 °F) on 27 July 2012. Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm and short with an average high of 23 °C (73 °F) and overnight lows of 14 °C (57 °F). The weather in Dubai can bring short and irregular rainfall as is typical for the Middle East. Most of the rainfall occurs in the December to March period. The weather between December and March remains warm and is considered as most comfortable climatic conditions throughout the year.
Dubai has a flourishing tourism industry so although the national language is Arabic, other languages are also widely spoken like Tagalog, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Persian, and Chinese.
Initially, Dubai’s economy was built around the oil industry but current revenues from petroleum and natural gas account for less than 3% of the emirate’s gross domestic product.
Today, Dubai has been focusing its economy on tourism by building hotels and developing real estate. It also created Dubai Internet City, an information technology park created as a free economic zone and a strategic base for companies targeting regional emerging markets and Dubai Media City which was created to boost UAE’s media foothold.
According to Healy Consultants, Dubai is the top business gateway for the Middle East and Africa. The government has set up industry-specific free zones throughout the city in hopes of giving a boost to Dubai property.
Now that Dubai is hosting Expo 2020, economic analysts say that there will be a positive impact not only on its own economy or the whole of UAE but also on wider Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. It was recently reported that so far, close to 7 billions U.S. dollars has been allotted for development and infrastructure projects in preparation for the expo.
There are many tourist attractions in Dubai. The current ruler of Dubai and the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, aims to make Dubai the top tourist destination in the world. Some of the most famous tourist attractions are the following:
- Burj Khalifa – At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world
- Burj Al Arab – the world’s most luxurious hotel and commonly referred to as the only 7-star hotel in the world
- Palm Jumeirah – an artificial archipelago shaped like a palm tree created using land reclamation
- Dubai Mall – the world’s largest shopping mall based on total area and fourteenth largest by gross leasable area
- Mall of the Emirates – the world’s first shopping resort and also one of the largest. It has over 560 international brands and the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park known as Ski Dubai
- Wild Wadi – an outdoor water park and the only themed amusement park in the UAE situated on Jumeirah Beach road in front of Burj Al Arab. It is themed around the tale of Juha, a known character from the Arabian folklore