Dubai, from the scratch until today - A new vision of tourism?

Term Paper 2009 15 Pages





1. The History

2. Geography and climate

3. Politics, culture and population

4. Economy

5. Tourism in Dubai
5.1 Development of the tourism industry during the last 10 years

6. The Vision
6.1 Dubai Strategic Plan
6.2 Dubailand
6.3 Nakheel Harbour & Tower

7. Conclusion



You can never understand Dubai if you have not been there. But being there is no guaranty for comprehension either!

Dubai is the place of the ultimate superlatives. Nothing is impossible and dreams can come true. Like in a modern fairytale, in Dubai everything seems to be possible and what shines seems to be made of gold… Skiing in the desert, clubbing in an Islamic country, the famous “Palm” and upcoming “Dubailand” to name only some of the numerous attractions Dubai has to offer.

I had the great opportunity to be part of an outstanding excursion to the United Arab Emirates with main interest on Dubai and to get an impression of one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. Not only as a tourist, but with the possibility to experience Dubai from a different sight, I had the chance to make up my mind about a fascinating city that never sleeps.

For this reason my interest in Dubai arose and makes me take a closer look on Dubai.

How did Dubai become what it is today? How can it fulfil it’s own premises to still grow and develop? And how can a single person, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, be responsible for all this?

With the following assignment I try to answer these questions by giving an overview of Dubai’s history, the current touristic situation in Dubai and the vision of Dubai in 2015.

1. The History

Where to start to get a grasp of Dubai? In my opinion it is impossible to get more than a glimpse of what Dubai is without knowing about the history. So the first chapter will deal with the history of Dubai from nothing more than a village in the middle of nowhere until today…

The first settlement in today’s Dubai goes back to the 5th and 6th century after Christ. In those times Dubai was nothing more than a stopover for trade into the east[1] for trading companies from the western part of the world.

The old village of pearls and fishing was existing at the Dubai Creek for a long time as in 1833 the ruling of Al Maktoum began. Sheik Maktoum bin Butti declared the city, formerly belonging to Abu Dhabi, to an independent sheikdom. He reigned the new sheikdom until 1852.

In the 19th century the coast of Dubai and nowadays United Arab Emirates was known as a pirates’ coast. This leaded Dubai, politically seen, to being a protectorate of Britain as part of the Trucial States extending along the northern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, because of Great Britain intending to save the important trade connections to Iraq and Iran. Thus trade was able to grow and became the main source of economical well-being[2] in Dubai.

From 1859 to 1886 Sheik Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum reigned. He introduced tax exemption for foreign traders which made Dubai interesting for traders from all over the world, especially from Persia and India. Combined with the liberal attitude of Dubai’s rulers the sheikdom developed to be an important point of trade in the middle east. The former fishing village had over 20.000 inhabitants at the beginning of the 20th century[3].

In 1903 Great Britain founded a steamship company and Dubai became free port on the way from Europe to India and gained more and more importance as a centre of trade not only for pearls.

1930 the pearl fishing industry broke down and Dubai’s trade concentrated more on the in - and export of gold[4].

The continuous ruling of the family Al Maktoum gave constancy and wealth to Dubai. In the middle of the 20th century the first modernisation of the Emirate started with building the Al Maktoum bridge, establishing a public hospital and opening the international airport of Dubai[5] in 1959.

Then, the discovery of oil transformed the way of living in Dubai forever. The first export of oil took place in 1969 and the following rapid development created the foundations for today’s society.

With the British withdrawal the 2nd of December 1971, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah came together to create the federation of the United Arab Emirates[6].

His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum followed a reasonable strategy handling Dubai’s oil resources and therefore was able to create an average income of 3 billion US-Dollars in the early 80’s. Even today he is referred to be the father of Dubai’s wealth[7].

2. Geography and climate

Besides the history, other factors have a strong influence on a region’s development. The following chapter will give a short excurse on geography and climatic conditions in Dubai.

Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates, which are located on the Arabian Peninsula. Since 1971 seven sheikdoms formed the state. They are divided in the biggest Emirate Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm al Quaiwan and Ras al Khaiman.

The second biggest Emirate is Dubai with a surface of 3900km²[8]. It is located at the Persian Gulf between Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. 90% of the Emirate are covered by desert. With 75 km of coastline, Dubai is often referred to be the “Pearl of the Persian Gulf”.[9]

The main city of Dubai is often called Dubai City to avoid misunderstandings. Dubai City has a surface of only 35 km² (the urban area is 3885 km²) and is divided into two parts by the Dubai Creek.[10]

The part north of the natural inlet of the Persian Gulf is called Deira, whereas the southern part of the city is known as Bur Dubai. Dubai City’s population is estimated to count up to 1,5 Million people.


[1] http://www.lovingdubai.com/de/history.aspx [30/12/08

[2] http://www.dubaitourism.ae/DubaiataGlance/FocusonDubai/tabid/188/language/en-US/Default.aspx [30/12/08]

[3] http://www.lovingdubai.com/de/history.aspx [30/12/08]

[4] http://www.heikoblossfeld.de/urlaub/dubai-dtsch.frame.htm#Geschichte%20Dubais [30/12/08]

[5] http://www.lovingdubai.com/de/history.aspx [30/12/08]

[6] http://www.dubai-city.de/geschichte/index.htm [30/12/08]

[7] http://www.dubaitourism.ae/DubaiataGlance/FocusonDubai/tabid/188/language/en-US/Default.aspx [30/12/08]

[8] http://www.dubai-online.com/essential/geography.htm [30/12/08]

[9] http://www.dubai.com/v/cityinfo/ [05/01/09]

[10] http://www.dubai-online.com/essential/geography.htm [30/12/08]


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Stralsund University of Applied Sciences




Title: Dubai, from the scratch until today - A new vision of tourism?