First few hours in Dubai usually become a really shocking experience for most people coming to the city for the first time. They simply cannot believe all they see could be done. Yet this is no mirage – the ultra-modern and aspiring Dubai does not know the word 'impossible'. The desert has been defeated – the heat of the sands is no more an obstacle for organizing all kinds of high-level entertainment facilities, including huge golf-courses with fresh green grass and ski slopes with real snow.
Dubai has given up its role of the West's 'younger brother' – its present state is a brilliant example of what an Arabic emirate can transform itself into and its dynamic growth is often regarded by observers as the obvious future of big cities all over the world.
Hard to imagine, but not more than a century ago wild winds were bowing and Bedouins were moving slowly across the endless sands where now highly-technological glass-and-concrete skyscrapers, huge trade centers and entertainment facilities of Dubai reside. Yet even by the end of WWI Dubai had almost no infrastructure at all and camel was nearly the only and for sure the most convenient means of transportation.
One of the key factors that determined the history of the city was its successful geographical position on the old trade route connecting Indus Valley and Mesopotamia. Dubai grew up as a village on that route residing by the mouth of Dubai Creek. Most people of Dubai at that time belonged to the Bani Yas tribe headed by the Maktoum dynasty which is still holding control over most of the city.
The 1960s are regarded as the beginning of the modern history of the city – the British colonial governing was gone and since oil was found in 1966 there was no return to the poverty of the past for Dubai. Since that time the population has increased dramatically and now comes to 1.5 mln. Thousands and thousands of tourists and temporary workers being the main driving force of economy stay in the numerous hotels of Dubai.
The above described situation leads to this emirate's being one of the world's most cosmopolitan places – hardly ¼ of the total of population is represented by ethnic Emirati. The advantage of such a 'nationality mixture' is nearly total absence of nationality-based conflicts.
The history of Dubai's development may be considered one of the most bright examples of extra-dynamic growth. Those controlling the city are sure to have weakness for large-scale projects – take the highest tower in the world (Burj Arab), a series of artificial islands (three Palms and the World) and a forthcoming Dubailand – an entertainment project that is to attract more that 45 additional projects to be realized on the territory of a big oasis.
Dubai's striving for growth does not seem to have any boundaries – and no limitations are placed on it, bringing up more and more ambitious plans like the largest mall in the world (Dubai Mall) or new airport to be built at Jebel Ali in addition to the present one that is considered the most loaded in the Middle East.
The number of tourists coming to Dubai does not seem to be showing any decrease, yet growing every year in spite of some political conflicts going on in the region. The tourist industry keeps showing good growth with its part of the emirate's GDP now counting for 30%. The reason is quite obvious – perfect climate with over 98% percent of sunny days a year. Yet in summer the temperatures rise as high as not to let tourists bear the heat in places with no air-conditioning.
It is really hard to predict long-term trends of the emirate's economy considering some political instability present in the region, however as for just now Dubai is a place of go-go growth.