Dubai has established itself as a global player and is an important trade and tourist destination. It plays a significant role as a global trading hub with booming export and re- export trade through the buzzing Jebel Ali port. Dubai has also invested in diversifying its economy drivers by establishing a global standard financial hub the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and has also succeeded in becoming the region’s biggest IT, Telecom and media hub with dynamic entities such as Internet City and Media City.
A lesser known fact on Dubai’s economy is that a whopping 95% of its GDP is non-oil based. It is a testament to the vibrancy and farsighted vision of the rulers and government of Dubai to have invested the oil revenue to generate the required infrastructure for trade, manufacturing and tourism, in order to build up Dubai’s economy.
Currently oil accounts for less than one percent of Dubai’s GDP and tourism to produce 20% of the GDP which is unheard of in the Middle East. Dubai is perhaps the only place in the region that has immensely benefitted by becoming a more dynamic and diversified economy in order to survive the decline in its fossil fuel revenues.
The transformation of the tourism sector, which began in the mid 1990’s is another long-term strategy that has paid off. The rapid development of world class hotels and resorts and the growth of Emirates Airlines as one of the world’s largest airlines has helped fulfill Dubai’s ambition to become the world’s top tourist destination. Today Dubai’s robust travel and tourism industry continues to be one of the major GDP drivers for its economy. Dubai has also surfaced as the shopping capital of the Middle East, thanks to its diverse souks, over 100 malls and innumerable shopping centres.
The city has also established itself as an international tech hub that services industries such as Finance and IT. Dubai Internet City, along with Dubai Media City forms the TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority), which is an enclave who houses well-known IT firms such as EMC Corporation, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Oracle Corporation and IBM, and media organizations such as BBC, MBC, CNN, Reuters and Sky News.
The booming real estate sector has also become one of the major contributors to the GDP as it has succeeded in becoming one of the best choices for investments in property. This sector alone has added billions of Dirhams to the economy and although it has witnessed turbulent times, the long term outlook of this sector is undeniably positive.
Winning the bid to host the Expo 2020 was another masterstroke that will enable Dubai to capitalize on the plethora of advantages that come with this prestigious global trade and cultural extravaganza. It is estimated that the Expo will attract 25 million additional visitors to Dubai and the UAE and will also open up new markets and trading frontiers that will enable Dubai to expand its global footprint as a crucial trading hub.
2020 is a big year for Dubai as the economic growth is projected to grow by 3.2 percent owing to business optimization combined with increased spending on Expo 2020 by UAE government, and local and private sector companies. While the Fifty Years Charter, government Initiatives and increase in productivity continue to support economic expansion in Dubai, EXPO 2020 and its legacy will continue to be major catalysts for the Emirate’s efforts at diversification and sustainable growth.
Dubai’s dream of being one of the top cities in the world in terms of standard of living is driven by a vision that encompasses sustained growth through investment in technologically enabled ecosystems in tandem with green initiatives. The planned infrastructure investments and focused efforts to attract the best talent and investments from across the globe is what will enable Dubai to continue being one of the most dynamic economic hubs in the world.