The city of Dubai is glowing with promise, full of old world charm and exciting, modern development projects. Sometimes called ‘the city of gold’ thanks to its gold souk that houses over 250 retailers of the precious metal (making it a major player in the gold trading scene), it really is a gem of a place. This fascinating, tax-free city is rapidly growing and changing, and we think Dubai offers people a fantastic investment opportunity. Here’s why.
A Global City
Dubai’s history as an important trading post connecting the West with the East, has drawn foreigners to the city for centuries, and it is a truly multi-cultural society today. In fact, it is the most populous city in the whole of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)!
Although its culture mainly revolves around traditional Arabic and Islamic culture – as can be seen in its dress, architecture, music and cuisine – thanks to the increasing influx of foreign workers and investment, Dubai is a truly global city that has developed into a thriving business hub within the Middle East. This combination of traditional values and western business attitudes has led to the weekend falling on Friday-Saturday. This compromise respects Friday’s holiness to Muslims, whilst recognising the Western weekend of Saturday-Sunday.
And workers aren’t the only ones being drawn from across the globe to the city, with tourists flocking there in ever increasing numbers.
Blossoming Tourism Industry
Much like the Dubai Miracle Garden, a 72,000-metre flower garden, the city’s tourism is flourishing. And, like the Miracle Garden, which with 45 million flowers is the largest in the world, many of the attractions in Dubai are big and bold.
From the Burj Al Arab, the world’s only ‘7-star hotel’, to the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping centre, many of the new projects for the city are aiming to amplify this reputation of ‘large and luxurious’. This ‘wow’ factor brought over 14million visitors to the emirate in 2015 alone.
And while Dubai Mall may be the world’s largest shopping centre, it certainly isn’t Dubai’s only one. With over 70 malls and a myriad of traditional souk districts, the city has claimed the title of ‘the shopping capital of the middle east’. In fact, in January they hold a month-long shopping festival!
Sports fans also make a significant number of the visitors to the city these days, with annual events like the Dubai Tennis Championships, the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament and the Dubai World Cup horse race taking place in the emirate.
Another big event coming up for Dubai is Expo 2020, the Universal exposition that is the current day iteration of the World’s Fair expositions that took place in 1800s. Expo 2020’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. Over 6 months, 25 million people from across the globe are expected to visit and explore the variety of events being hosted at this stunning public exhibition.
Another key area for tourism is the Dubai Creek. Separating Deira from the Bur Dubai, the creek has been vital to the city’s economic development, not least because of the many attractions that can be found at Dubai Creek Park. Famous highlights such as the cable car and Dolphinarium make significant contributions to the city’s tourism. And this growing industry has added a lot of value to Dubai’s economy.
Strong, Evolving Economy
The emirate has historically built its economy around trade and, to a certain extent, oil. However, Dubai is now diversifying, with the service and tourism industries contributing sizable amounts to its economy. The government has also developed several free zones within the city to encourage specific industries. One key area is the Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority, where companies such as Microsoft, IBM, CNN and Reuters have offices with the Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City developments.
This has led the emirate to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies, with a GDP of over $82billion in 2014. Foreign companies and the lure of a tax-free, luxurious lifestyle is a big draw for talented professionals from around the world, adding to both the city’s revenues and its multi-cultural nature.
Although Dubai has come a long-way from its trade-centric economy, transport is still a big part of the emirates current success.
A Transport Hub
Having historically been an important transit point for both cargo and passengers, it’s not surprising that getting to and around Dubai today is relatively easy. There are a myriad of ways to move around the city, with a strong road infrastructure, a tram, metro, monorail and high speed rail line. The waterways have also been an essential part of the city’s transport network, with a water bus and water taxis catering mainly to tourists.
And then there are Dubai’s ports. Port Rashid and Port Jebel Ali – the world’s largest man-made harbour and 7th busiest port – are the two major commercial ports in Dubai. Many cruise liners are received at Port Rashid, including Cunard, P&O and Royal Caribbean.
But perhaps the most important part of the transport network is the Dubai International Airport, which acts as a gateway between the West and the East. The UAE’s state airline, Emirates, is based at the airport, which flies to global destinations, from Auckland to New York to London. Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali, is set to become one of the biggest airports in the world. It will form part of the Dubai World Central, an ongoing development that will be a large residential, commercial and logistics complex.
Dubai also looks set to be the home of the inaugural offering from Hyperloop One, with their superfast pods connecting the city to Abu Dhabi in a short 12 minute journey.
And it’s not just the transport that could take a futuristic turn. Dubai’s skyline is gaining more and more modern buildings.
A Property Hotspot
Architecture in Dubai is a stunning mix of old-world Islamic styles and modern western design. But it is the new wave of construction that is fuelling interest and investment in the city.
Large-scale projects like the Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Khalifa, which at 828 metres high is the world’s tallest man-made building, are proving a draw to developers looking for an opportunity to build new, exciting projects. The city is fast becoming known for its cityscape of spectacular high rises and skyscrapers.
And for those looking to invest in the city, there’s an added incentive. Dubai enjoys a tax-free status, meaning you don’t pay income or capital gains tax on your property investment.
Large and luxurious new developments, such as our Montrell serviced apartments units, provide excellent opportunities for property investors to gain strong rental returns, with lesser risks and costs.
If you would like to read more about investing in Dubai, then check out our useful post on Dubai Property Investment and why The Time to invest is Right Now!.