DUBAI, A COUNTRY ON THE MOVE
I remember my first visit to Dubai in 2007. A group of us from the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, led by Vernice Walkine, Director General and the late David Johnson, Deputy DG were on a fact finding mission to see for ourselves, this dynamic, emerging tourism phenomenon that was dominating the travel trade news scene.
The Emirati tourism professionals were the consummate hosts. In our meetings they were very kind and paid homage to our glory days when The Bahamas was #1, and saying that they upheld The Bahamas as Tourism’s Gold standard.
Indeed, at that time the construction industry was booming, power drills were reverberating everywhere, hard hats were the head-gear of the day, and Dubai laid claim to 75% of the cranes in the world that characterized its sprouting skyscape. As they lit up the night sky with their towering arms reaching for the heavens, it was a sight to behold.
Today, in advance of EXPO City, Dubai boasts two main commercial epicenters – Downtown Dubai and Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), that are characterized by modern, towering office, residential and luxury hotel structures that come in complementary pairs or threes with stylized colour accents and shapes, reminiscent of the futuristic Jetson age.
These impressive skyscapes would make New York City weep for a makeover and Florida would marvel at the coveted seascape insert in the desert, in bustling touristic JBR, a replica and the envy of boogie Brickell and Bal Harbour neighbourhoods in Miami.
So, this self-contained city that the Emiratis have built in the desert in just 5 short years, complete with 6 lane highways, medical facilities, condo-hotels, a Trump golf course, a train station and even an airport, was inspired by EXPO. The magnificent country pavillions are indicative of the fact that the world has wholeheartedly embraced the opportunity and spared no expense to be here.
Indeed some of the self-built pavillions of the global leaders represented here, such as Germany, Singapore, India, the UK, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others have operational budgets that could run small countries. So invested are they in trying to attract business from the UAE, that it is well worth the capital outlay to try to differentiate themselves and make an impact here in Dubai, where the universe has come to vie for investment dollars and tourists.
CEO & Executive Director
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