Dubai has successfully overcome a host of financial and commercial hurdles over the past couple of years due to global credit crunch – thanks to the visionary policies by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Dubai is relentlessly continuing its march towards becoming a global business hub – be it banking, finance, trade, tourism, aviation, hospitality and shopping sectors. All the economic indicators for the past one year have indicated upward trend, witnessing a stronger recovery in all fields of economy. The ongoing Arab Spring has also made the emirate a safe haven resulting in growing confidence among international investors and multinational companies.
The Dubai government has been working hard to support the travel industry through marketing activities and by constantly improving and enhancing the facilities and services that Dubai offers to visitors.
In aviation, Dubai International Airport has been witnessing growing passenger traffic month-on-month over the past 11 months thanks to two high-flying airlines who have been instrumental in the growth of emirate’s aviation sector. According to Dubai Airports’ latest figures, passenger throughput increased 7.8 per cent during the first 11 months reaching 46.28 million.
Dubai’s carriers Emirates and flydubai have helped the emirate to become world’s leading transit aviation hub for passengers and cargo traffic. By the end of 2011, Emirates airline had become the world’s fourth largest carrier in the world based on available seats kilometres and will most likely move one notch up next year – overtaking American Airlines, showed Capa estimates.
Dubai’s hospitality sector also continued its receive increased number of guests during the first three quarters – also helping its affiliated tourism and shopping industries to expand. Dubai hotels played host 6.64 million guests in the first three quarters of 2011, up by 11 per cent compared with the corresponding period last year. The guest nights rose by 26 per cent to reach 23.68 million, while the average length of stay increased by 14 per cent during the same period.
Revenues of hotels and hotel apartments increased by 19 per cent to cross the Dh10.96 billion, with the share the revenues of hotels increasing by 20 per cent and that of hotel apartments by 13 per cent. The number of hotel establishments increased by one per cent to 573 while the total hotel rooms and flats jumped up by seven per cent to reach 73,522. The average occupancy levels of hotel room and flat increased by five and seven per cent, respectively, and stood at 72 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) data showed.
Similarly, Dubai Customs data showed that the emirate’s trade jumped 24 per cent in the first six months of 2011 to Dh345bn, suggesting that it successfully negotiated weakening global trade and slowing economy. Imports to Dubai rose 21 per cent to Dh214bn, up from Dh177bn in the first half of last year while exports jumped 37 per cent to Dh45bn, from Dh33bn. Re-exports rose by a quarter to Dh86bn compared to Dh69 in the first half of last year.
A host of researches issued over the past one year by the world’s leading institutes have seen Dubai ranked among world’s top destination for economic potential, friendliness, growth, security, infrastructure development and ease of doing business.
A study by fDi magazine crowned Dubai as the “Middle East city of the Future 2010/11”, underlining the emirate’s premier status as a preferred foreign direct investment destination. Dubai ranked exceptionally well across all categories achieving top positions in Economic Potential, Infrastructure and Business Friendliness. Dubai attained an impressive total score of 52.05 among 25 Middle East cities.
The report also observed that Dubai scored highest in the region in terms of the number of FDI projects from 2003 to June 2010, establishing the city’s leading role as a preferred destination. The city scored a perfect 100 in terms of economic potential, evaluated on the basis of population, total number of patents, GDP, total number of FDI projects, number of companies in R&D, number of FDI mega-projects, global competitiveness and other key parameters.
Dubai also clinched the perfect 100 score in infrastructure measured by the number of international destinations served, airlines served, upload and download speeds, port size, time to export and import, internet users, logistics performance index and e-government web measure index, among others.
The business friendliness of Dubai, in which again the city led the region, was measured against the number of jobs created by FDI, growth of hi-tech manufacturing firms, growth of knowledge based firms, number of days to start a business, economic freedom and innovation, among other parameters.
Another study issued by CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) put Dubai among the top 10 most popular business locations in the world, with almost 56 per cent of the world’s largest companies operating in the emirate.
Of the companies profiled, over half (56.1 per cent) have an office presence in Dubai, ranking it ninth overall, while the UAE as a whole was ranked 15th in the country rankings, with 171 companies present (61.1 per cent), the real estate services firm said in a new report. In the industrial goods and services sector, Dubai was ranked seventh globally, with 23 of the companies surveyed present. This represents 70 per cent of the total amount Dubai has emerged as a “gateway” city between Europe and the Far East and as a base for conducting business in places such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
The Xinhua-Dow Jones International Financial Centres Development Index 2011 also rated Dubai eighth globally in terms of growth and development and has maintained its status as the leading financial centre between Singapore and Europe.
Dubai also topped the financial centres in the Middle East in the latest edition of the Global Financial Centres Index. Around 64 companies joined DIFC in the first six months of 2011, bringing the net total of active registered companies operating in the Centre up to 813; 44 per cent of new regulated companies in H1 2011 came from the Middle East and Asia, 50 per cent from Europe and North America, and six per cent from the rest of the world, according to DIFC Authority.