• Unlike many states across the world, Dubai has not been affected by the oil price crunch due to its constantly growing and diversifying economy.
  • Dubai has invested massive amounts of money to promote innovation and entrepreneurship and has financial and administrative protocols in place to encourage new technologies and ideas.
  • The city has also turned into the region’s top leisure and tourist destination and aims to attract 20 million visitors a year by 2020.

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Despite the ongoing oil price crunch, Dubai has managed to place itself on the list of a few economies still doing well amid a general global slowdown. It appears the emirate is benefiting from investing in the right places at the right time and encouraging diversification of its economy.

Dubai’s economy has revenue streams that dwarf the contribution of oil to its coffers. When it comes to the hospitality, real estate, entertainment and tourism sectors, there is no beating Dubai.

Towering structures such as the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, The Atlantis and the world’s largest shopping mall bring in visitors and trade year-round while upcoming mega-projects indicate that the city has no intention to stop growing.

Ashraf Jandali / Shutterstock.com

Ashraf Jandali / Shutterstock.com

Forbes reported the United Arab Emirates (UAE) registered an impressive 4.6 percent GDP growth rate last year. Aiming at even higher numbers, the city is set to raise the bar of excellence and ready to compete with global economic giants soon.

Recently, Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) Director Raed Safadi estimated that Dubai’s business and economic growth could outstrip China’s by 2020.

The forecast will not surprise those familiar with Dubai’s business landscape. For those who hold reservations, Bayut.com has compiled a list of indicators that will appease the strongest critics.

Diversity

Dubai’s decision to steer away from an oil-based economy has reaped the goods. The emirate has vigorously developed its finance, marketing, real estate and construction, hospitality and tourism sectors to ensure multiple sources of revenue.

Although some structures have already brought Dubai into the limelight, developments in the city’s south and trade hotspots such as Jebel Ali port promise greater prosperity.

Foreign investors keeping a close eye on the emirate have also increased stakes in anticipation of better returns. To complete the package, Dubai authorities are also working on putting in place a state-of-the-art healthcare system and a judiciary that serves its international population ably.

The emirate’s government is also focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship in the society, and its ruler, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched a mega AED 2 billion ($544 million) fund in December to provide financing solutions for innovators looking excel in various sectors.

Tourism

Luxury, comfort and world-class services take a better form when it comes to Dubai’s hospitality sector. With gold-plated cutlery and underwater hotels, the offerings assure an experience of a lifetime.

Perhaps this is the reason Dubai has become the pit stop for leisure seekers and luxury dwellers from around the globe. Sea-facing hotels that reach out to the skies and dozens of adventure and theme parks are only a few features to name.

Other entertainment facilities dot Dubai’s skyline, and many more one-of-a-kind theme parks are on the way. These outlets ensure year-round tourism and are propelling Dubai’s economy forward.

Startups

Results of a survey among INSEAD (the business school of the world) alumni named Dubai the top work destinations for expats and professionals. The respondents ranked the city high for economic dynamism and quality of life, and HSBC’s Expat Explorer 2015 report named Dubai the second best city for expats wishing to establish a business base of their own.

Receiving visitors from both sides of the world, Dubai has become a city where business-savvy minds from all over can interact, communicate and launch entrepreneurial ventures. Startups that prefer to test-run their innovations in a diverse market find a suitable audience in Dubai.

A young economy itself, Dubai has a peculiar charm for professionals looking to enter the business world. A tax-free environment and a central location also help Dubai attract the business community.

Expo 2020

Aiming to attract 25 million visitors, the expo has already started pulling in professionals and businesspeople from around the world.

Infrastructure and facilities are being rapidly developed to accommodate the huge lot arriving in anticipation of Expo 2020. The event will also provide a platform for job seekers and skilled laborers waiting for suitable work opportunities.

The six-month long business exhibition has spiked up trade and commerce in the city well before time. While businesspeople and entrepreneurs prepare to network, exhibit, market and sell their respective products and services to millions of visitors, the outlook for entertainment and sight-seeing activities appear all but natural.

Demand for real estate, retail, recreation, eateries and entertainment spaces is already on the up and serves as a great driver for the emirate’s economy.

Dubai has established itself as a truly global city in rather a short period. Considering its popularity among vacationers, expats, professionals and even job seekers, Dubai’s growing annual turnovers do not seem surprising. Kept on the current track of diversity, it is likely that Department of Economic Development’s (DED) prediction will turn out right.

Azam Mahmood Butt is the editor at Bayut.com, the UAE’s leading real estate portal.

Email Azam Mahmood Butt.