A major British TV channel devoted one hour for a documentary that was made on Dubai. It was re-aired on Tuesday, describing the emirate as “one of the most dynamic cities on the planet” and saying it will not only survive the credit crunch but will thrive.
Well-known British TV presenter Piers Morgan had travelled to Dubai earlier and visited almost every place in the city of more than 2 million people, met businessmen and many others before coming to the conclusion that the city would hot have reached that distinct status without the efforts of late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and his son Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai.
“They don’t want to be number two but No. 1,” Morgan said at the end of the documentary that highlighted Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab hotel and many other monuments and hot spots in the bustling city.
“They want to place Dubai on top of the world map… this is part of the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid,” he added.
The documentary, entitled “Piers Morgan on Dubai”, was broadcast by ITV 4 at 8pm UK time (12.00 midnight UAE time), and started with the following introduction: “Piers Morgan visits Dubai, one of the most dynamic cities on the planet… he tries to find out if Dubai is threatened by the credit crunch.”
Towards the end of the programme, Morgan said: “As for the credit crunch, every one I met here says Dubai will not only survive but will thrive.”
And when he visited Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, he stood at the base of the tower and said: “I have worked for 10 years at Canary Wharf (massive business district in London) but never seen anything like this.”
Piers then was taken by a Burj Khalifa official to the top of the building, where he could see the entire city and further places. When he asked how much an entire floor on the Burj would cost, he was told nearly $45 million. “I think it is a bargain compared to prices in London,” one official joked.
Morgan and his camera team then visited several shopping malls, the beaches, hotels, night clubs, construction projects and other places.
“Nearly 40 years ago, Dubai was just a dusty fishing village…but it was transformed into a major city thanks to the efforts and vision of Sheikh Rashid… The city is still growing and mega projects are under way… In London, major projects need years to be launched but here it only takes months…that is what we call efficiency and dedication,” Morgan said.
Interviewed by Morgans, a prominent UAE businessmen said there is a credit crunch but noted that most countries are suffering from the crunch.
“People keep saying the crunch is coming but it is already there… When we talk about a crunch, we can see the whole world is suffering from a crunch,” said Suleiman Al Fahim, former chairman of Hydra Real Estate company and one of the wealthiest persons in the region.
“Here in Dubai, I can tell you that we always look ahead… We do not look ahead for one or two years but for 15-20 years… You just go and talk to any official in the emirate and see what he will tell you.”
Piers said that like London, foreigners are a majority in Dubai. “There are an estimated 200,000 Westerners, 900,000 Asians and hundreds of thousands of other foreigners. Nationals are only around 200,000… When you work it out, you find that Dubai is indeed a tolerant place,” he said.
Just before the documentary ended, Piers stood at a beach strip facing the city’s skyscrapers and said: “This was just a piece of a desert strip… They built a city out of nowhere… Now they want to be No. 1.”