Dubai, also spelled Dubayy, city, and capital of the emirate of Dubai, one of the wealthiest of the seven emirates that constitute the federation of the United Arab Emirates, which was created in 1971 following independence from Great Britain. There are several theories about the origin of the name Dubai. One associates it with the daba—a type of locust that infests the area—while another holds that it refers to a market that existed near the city. In recent years Dubai has been compared to Singapore and Hong Kong and is often regarded as the Middle East’s premier entrepôt. Area 13.5 square miles (35 square km). Pop. (2016 est.) 2,645,581.
From humble beginnings as a small fishing village first documented in the 18th century, the city grew rapidly as it became a major center of the pearl-diving industry. With its business-savvy ruling family reducing taxes and welcoming foreign merchants, the city expanded further in the early 20th century and soon became a re-exporting hub for Persia and India. Benefiting from modest oil wealth in the latter half of the 20th century, Dubai continued to focus on trade and attracting investment, channelling oil surpluses into major infrastructure projects such as an international airport, dry docks, and a trade centre. In the 1990s the city began to diversify, building up its luxury tourism, real estate, and financial sectors. These all required skilled, educated foreign workers, and many moved to Dubai for its tax-free salaries and relatively stable politics. With expatriates coming from elsewhere in the Arab world as well as from Asia, Europe, and North America, the city took on a rather cosmopolitan air and was considered to have one of the most liberal societies in the region.
In the early 21st century, Dubai’s art and film industries blossomed, with the annual Art Dubai fair showcasing contemporary art and the Dubai International Film Festival promoting both local and international movies. The Dubai Museum, housed in an 18th-century fortress, displays artifacts and exhibits related to the area’s early history and traditional culture. Dubai’s public library system has several branches throughout the city, and there are a number of bookshops in the city’s shopping malls.
Dubai is home to a large number of international sporting events. These have greatly boosted its status as a tourist destination. The Dubai World Cup is the world’s most lucrative horse race, and the city’s Dubai Desert Classic is a popular fixture on the European Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour.
The city’s media industry remains firmly divided between government-backed television and newspapers, most of which are heavily censored, and the foreign media companies that operate branch offices from the Dubai Media City, a purpose-built complex that serves as an international media hub for the region. The latter include the BBC and the Associated Press, and their output does not have to conform to local restrictions.
Education is divided between the private and public sectors. Public school is generally taught in Arabic, while most private schools and all universities teach in English. Two universities, the American University in Dubai (1995) and Zayed University (1998) enjoy good reputations locally. Most of the staff are expatriates, with a significant proportion being from North America.
For those residents with private medical insurance, health care in Dubai is generally of a high standard, with several private hospitals, including the American Hospital Dubai. For those without insurance, the government operates a number of additional hospitals.
With wide highways, a hot climate, and a year-round reliance on air-conditioning, Dubai is not a welcoming city for pedestrians, so vehicle traffic can be extremely intense. However, in the early 21st century, new bridges, roads, and a fully automated, driverless metro rail system have eased the frustrations of moving around the city. Tourism has been greatly enhanced by the Dubai-owned airline, Emirates, which operates a large and modern fleet of aircraft.
Contrary to popular belief, Dubai does not have an oil-based economy. The little oil wealth it did enjoy between the 1960s and the 1990s was used to enhance other sectors of its economy by building physical infrastructure. Trade remains at the core of Dubai’s economy, with the city operating two of the world’s largest ports and a busy international air cargo hub. The Jebel Ali free-trade zone was established in the 1980s to attract industrial investment; activities based there include aluminum smelting, car manufacturing, and cement production.
Dubai’s population has grown steadily over the past two centuries, from just a few thousand local inhabitants to well over two million. Most of the early population increases were due to merchants from neighboring countries choosing to relocate to Dubai’s business-friendly environment. In the later 20th century the city’s construction boom led to a huge increase in the number of South Asian laborers and an influx of skilled expatriates from all over the world who play an important role in Dubai’s multi-sector economy. Expatriates in the city vastly outnumber native Emiratis. With the exception of the laborers, who are housed in work camps beyond the city limits, expatriates of various nationalities are spread across Dubai. Although Arabic is the official language, English is, in practice, the lingua franca.
City site and layout
Dubai straddles a natural inlet called Dubai Creek on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf. For more than a century, the area was Dubai’s center, because of the early city’s reliance on fishing, pearl diving, and maritime trade. Lining the creek are the oldest buildings in Dubai, most of which date from the 1960s and are rarely more than two stories in height. In the Bastakiyyah quarter, on the western shore of the creek, some much older buildings have been restored, and many of these feature the distinctive wind tower design that was imported by Persian merchants early in the 20th century.
Types Of Visa
- 48-Hours Dubai Visa
- Short-Term Single Entry Visa
- 90-Days Dubai Visa
- Multiple Entry Short-Term Visa
The common documents required for a Dubai visa whether tourist or business comprise:
- Your passport with a minimum validity of six months.
- A photocopy of the visa application form duly filled.
- Scanned copy of two color photographs in white background.
- A cover letter from the applicant mentioning his purpose of visit and the duration of his stay.
- Confirmed return flight tickets.
- Proof of hotel reservation for all days of your stay in Dubai.
- An original as well as a photocopy of your IT Returns and a photocopy of the PAN card.
- Original as well as a scanned copy of your investment documents. Should have investment amounting to 5 lac or more in the form of FDs.
- A solo woman traveler under the age of 24 would need a NOC from her father or husband.
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TOP 10 DESTINATION
- Burj Khalifa
- Burj Al Arab
- The Dubai mall
- Dubai Creek
- The Dubai Foundation
- Abu Dhabi
- Ski Dubai
- Mall of the Emirates
- Desert Safari Dubai
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