United Arab Emirates
Country profile

Dubai: About the country

Dubai is a remarkable place to visit, unlike anywhere else in the world, which perhaps explains why it is the 7th most visited city in the world, and expected to climb even higher. Visitor numbers are growing by 10% per year, topping 15 million in 2015. In fact, less than 20% of Dubai’s 2 million population are locals these days, with the rest either expats or visitors.

Dubai is often mistaken for a country, but is in fact one of the seven emirates that make up the country of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has a coastal location on the south east shores of the Persian Gulf, and an area of around 1,500 sq miles, although much of this is desert. Most of the population lives in the city of Dubai, which has become a regional powerhouse for commerce and tourism.

Dubai is dripping with oil wealth, and this can be seen everywhere from the super-luxury 7 star hotels to the seventy or more shopping malls packed with gold centres and top of the range electronic goods, including the world’s largest shopping centre, the Dubai Mall.

Nothing demonstrates the emirates wealth and growing importance better than the recently completed Burj Khalifa tower – the world’s tallest building. This also demonstrates the delicate power balances in the region, as Dubai’s world famous tower is named after the Abu Dhabi based leader of the UAE who bailed out the project when Dubai’s ambition outstripped its funds.

Tourism is a major source of income for Dubai, and they make sure that there is something for everyone, apart from the great shopping. The emirate boasts incredible waterparks, undersea hotels, 4x4 safaris into the desert and a mind-boggling choice of spas to pamper you. It also offers a lot that you might not expect, including golf and skiing right there in the desert.

Take a trip up the viewing tower of the Burj Khalifa and you’ll see the incredible cityscape of gleaming towers below, rising almost magically from the desert floor. Look offshore, and you’ll see even more incredible sights, as man-made islands create the shape of a palm tree and even a world map in the bay. These luxury private islands boast some of the world’s richest and most famous people as their proud owners.

With almost every nation on earth represented amongst the mêlée of Dubai, it is one of the most cosmopolitan places you can find, making every day a different adventure.  Yet in a turbulent region, Dubai remains a safe, stable and secure place to visit, with virtually no crime. Best of all, nowhere makes you feel more wanted and welcomed than Dubai, leaving you with the feeling that every possible facility has been provided for you and that nothing is too much trouble for their honoured guests.

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Quick facts

Population: 8.2 Million
Currency: UAE Dirham
Capital: Abu Dhabi
Languages: Arabic
Religions: Islam 76%