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DUBAI PROFILE : Dubai Emirate Information

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DUBAI PROFILE : Dubai Emirate Information

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Postby Dubai information » Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:41 am

DUBAI CITY PROFILE


Dubai or Dubayy (in Arabic: دبيّ, IPA /ðʊ-'bɪ/, generally /dʊ-'baɪ/ in English) refers to either

one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula, or
that emirate's main city, sometimes called "Dubai City" to distinguish it from the emirate.
The ruler of Dubai is H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the Vice-President of the federation of the United Arab Emirates. The crown prince and Minister of Defence of the UAE is H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, one of the Sheikh's younger brothers.

Dubai is the second largest emirate in the federation after Abu Dhabi. The emirate is located on the Persian Gulf, southwest of Sharjah and northeast of Abu Dhabi, and reaches into the interior. The town of Hatta is an exclave of the emirate of Dubai and borders Al Wajajah, Oman.

Dubai is distinct from other members of the UAE in that revenues from oil account for only 10% of its gross domestic product. A majority of the emirate's revenues are from the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) [4] and now, increasingly, from tourism.


History of Dubai

Dubai City as seen from spaceThere are records of the town of Dubai from 1799. Earlier in the 18th century the Al Abu Falasa lineage of Banu Yas clan established itself in Dubai which was a dependent of the settlement of Abu Dhabi until 1833.

On 8 Jan 1820 the then sheikh of Dubai was a signatory to the British sponsored "General Treaty of Peace" (the General Maritime Treaty).

In 1833, the Al Maktoum dynasty of the Bani Yas tribe left the settlement of Abu Dhabi and took over the town of Dubai, "without resistance". From that point on, Dubai, a newly independent emirate, was constantly at odds with the emirate of Abu Dhabi. An attempt by the Qawasim pirates to take over Dubai was thwarted. In 1835, Dubai and the rest of the Trucial States signed a maritime truce with Britain and a "Perpetual Maritime Truce" about two decades later. Dubai came under the protection of the United Kingdom (keeping out the Ottoman Turks) by the Exclusive Agreement of 1892. Like four of its neighbours, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Uum al-Qaiwain, its position on the route to India made it important enough to be recognized as a salute state (be it of the lowest class: 3 guns).

In March 1892 the Trucial States (or Trucial Oman) were created.

The rulers of Dubai fostered trade and commerce, unlike the town's neighbors. The town of Dubai was an important port of call for foreign tradesmen (chiefly Indians), who settled in the town. Until the 1930s, the town was known for its pearl exports.

After the devaluation of the Gulf Rupee in 1966, Dubai joined the newly independent state of Qatar to set up a new monetary unit, the Qatar/Dubai riyal. Oil was discovered 120 kilometres off the coast of Dubai, after which the town granted oil concessions.

On 2 December 1971 Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi, and five other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates after Britain left the Persian Gulf in 1971. In 1973, Dubai joined the other emirates to adopt a single, uniform currency: the UAE dirham.

Dubai maintained its importance as a trade route through the 1970s and 1980s. Dubai and its twin across the Dubai creek, Deira (independent at that time), became important ports of call for Western manufacturers. Most of the new city's banking and financial centers were headquartered in this area.

The city of Dubai has a free trade in gold and is the hub of a "brisk smuggling trade" of gold ingots to India, where gold trade is restricted. Oil reserves in Dubai are less than one-twentieth that of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, and hence oil income is a minor contributing factor to the city's prosperity.

Today, Dubai is also an important tourist destination, bolstered by its rapidly-expanding airline Emirates, which is headed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, an uncle of the Sheikh. Dubai is also diversifying as a hub for service-based industries such as IT and finance, with the new Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The government has set up industry-specific free zones throughout the city. Dubai Internet City, now combined with Dubai Media City as part of TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority) is one such enclave whose members include IT firms such as EMC Corporation, Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM, and media organisations such as MBC, CNN, Reuters, ARY and AP. Dubai Knowledge Village (KV) is an education and training hub is also set up to complement the Free Zone’s other two clusters, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, by providing the facilities to train the clusters' future knowledge workers.

Demographics

Silhouette of a dhow in the Bur Dubai creekDubai is unusual in that its population comprises mainly expatriates, with UAE nationals (Emiratis) constituting the minority. The vast majority of these expatriates come from South Asia and the South East Asia. A quarter of the population reportedly trace their origins to neighboring Iran.[5] The UAE government does not allow any form of naturalization or permanent residence to expatriates.

Nearly all of the commercial establishments are run by expatriates with a silent local partner who merely "rents" the business license for a negotiated annual fee without taking part in any capital investment. The numerous free trade zones allow for full expatriate ownership.

There is an increasing number of "freehold" villas and flats on artificial islands such as the Palm Islands. The "lease" on these freehold properties is for 99 years. It is, however, illegal to seek employment on this visa. Ownership of lease does not guarantee any form of legal residency status in the UAE. The Federal Government is still formulating laws pertaining to ownership of property and considering issuing residency status to those who own such property

Language and religion

The Al-Jumeirah MosqueThe official language is Arabic, but English and Urdu are also widely spoken, along with Hindi, Persian, Punjabi, Malayalam, and Tagalog. Islam is the official religion of all of the emirates. A vast majority of the locals are Sunnis. There are foreign minority Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians as well. Dubai is the only emirate that has Hindu temples and a Sikh gurudwara.

The Meena Bazaar area of the city has both a Shiva and Krishna temple. Both are believed to be sanctioned by the late ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. There is an electric crematorium run by a group of Indian expatriates. Non-Muslims in the country are free to practice their religion but may not proselytize publicly or distribute religious literature. The government follows a policy of tolerance towards non-Muslims and Polytheist; in practice, interferes very little in the religious activities of non-Muslims.

In early 2001, ground was broken for the construction of several additional churches on a parcel of land in Jebel Ali donated by the government of Dubai for four Protestant congregations and a Catholic congregation. Construction on the first Greek Orthodox Church in Dubai (to be called St. Mary's) would begin at the end of 2005, members of the Eastern Orthodox Christian community in the UAE have had to use churches of other denominations for services, until General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister, donated a plot of land in Jebel Ali.

Apart from donated land for the construction of churches and other religious facilities, including cemeteries, non-Muslim groups are not supported financially or subsidised by the government. However, they are permitted to raise money from among their congregants and to receive financial support from abroad. Christian churches are permitted to openly advertise certain church functions, such as memorial services, in the press.

Ports

Dubai is serviced by several commercial ports and Dubai Creek is still used by local traders in Dhows:

Mina' Rashid
Jebel Ali


Airports

Dubai International Airport is a fortress hub for Emirates airlines and has a large Duty Free shopping centre. Dubai airport has won many awards for its excellence in design and services. A third terminal is currently under construction and due to open in 2006. The new terminal will be dedicated to Emirates airlines and will fully support the Airbus A380. When completed this will double the capacity of the airport.

A second airport located at Jebel Ali—and a new free trade area within Dubai, marking the centrepiece of the Jebel Ali Airport City—was announced in 2004 and construction began in January 2005. Although initially intended as a predominantly cargo airport, plans are afoot for the new Jebel Ali airport to handle some 40 million passengers per annum within 20 years.

Transportation

The Abra or Water TaxiDubai has a fairly large bus system run by the Dubai Municipality. The bus system has 59 unique routes on weekdays and transports over 200,000 people each week. The government has issued plastic, swipable "e-go" cards. There are also several discounts and period pass options available. Unfortunately though, the bus network is used extensively by lower income groups and does not do enough to attract higher income earners who would do well to use the bus transport system and ease traffic congestion that has recently become a major problem in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Traffic congestion has come about mainly due to lack of foresight on the recent rapid population increase, the relative ease of credit facilities for obtaining a car and the convoluted road networks that are constantly being changed, improved or reconstructed. Furthermore, Dubai has developed a reputation for having the most number of deaths and road accidents in the developed world clocking in with a statistic of having a minor road accident at least every 3 minutes. Due to the frequency of such incidents, road networks are blocked and held up quite frequently.

Dubai also has an extensive taxi system, by far the most frequently used means of public transport within the emirate. There are both government-operated and private cab companies. The Dubai Transport Corporation operates cream-colored taxis. Some of the private cab companies are Cars Taxi, National Taxi, and Metro Taxi. Prices are reasonable (metered by distance only) and cabs can be found anywhere, any time although difficulties may be experienced during large events.

One of the more traditional methods of getting across Bur Dubai to Deira is through abras, small boats that ferry passengers across the Dubai creek, between abra stations in Bastakiya and Bani Yas Road, for a nominal charge of 50 fils.

There is currently a $3.89 billion Dubai Metro project under construction for the emirate. The Metro system is expected to be partially operational by 2009 and fully operational by 2012. The construction contract for the project was given to Dubai Rapid Link (DURL)[11], a consortium lead by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Also involved are two other Japanese corporations, Obayashi and Kajima, and a Turkish company, Yapi Merkezi. The metro will comprise two lines: the Green Line from Rashidiya to the main city center and the Red Line from the airport to Jebel Ali. The Dubai Metro will have 70 kilometers of track and 43 stations, 33 above ground and ten underground. Trains are expected to run every 90 seconds when the project is completed. Dubai is building this train system to ease congestion on its road network and to meet the transportation demands of its growing population. Seven monorails are also slated to be constructed to help feed the Metro system, connecting various places such as Dubailand, Palm Jumeriah, et al, to the main track.

Dubai is also investing heavily in developing the reach of its airline, Emirates. The idea is to develop Dubai's air transportation ability so that passengers from any city can fly direct to Dubai. The airline has placed an order of 45 of Airbus's A-380 'superjumbo' doubledecker aircraft, the largest of which has a capacity of 641 passengers. The A380 aircraft have already been charted to fly from October 2006 onwards. In addition, Emirates has placed an order of 42 of the new Boeing 777 aircraft in November 2005.

Construction

Dubai houses 16% of the world's cranes.Since 2000, Dubai's municipality has initiated a plethora of construction phases and plans across the entire city of Dubai, predominantly in the Mina Seyahi area, located further from Jumeirah, towards Jebel Ali. Dubai houses 16% of the world's cranes. Construction in Dubai and the UAE in general is a much faster process than in any Western country. This is partly due to the fact that labourers from Indian subcontinent accept lower wages than those from other countries.

One of the main reasons for the boom in construction in Dubai is its drive to diversify the economy. The Dubai government does not want to depend on its oil reserves which are largely believed to become exhausted by 2010 and, as such, has diversified its economy to attract revenues in the form of expanding commercial and corporate activity. Tourism is also being promoted at a staggering rate with the construction of Dubailand and other projects that include the making of mammoth shopping malls, theme parks, resorts, stadiums and other various tourist attractions.

One of the other reasons for the boom in construction is the recent reversal of a law in 2002 that allows non-nationals of the UAE to own property (not land) in Dubai (albeit freehold and 99 year leases are actually sold to people with ownership still remaining with private companies). The larger of the property tycoons are Al Nakheel and Emaar Properties. In Dubai, demand is currently outstripping supply by a significant margin and is showing no signs of slowing in the near future. Rents have also skyrocketed with the recent inflow of professionals and companies from around the world who are attracted by Dubai's no-tax benefits although rises have been capped to 15% per annum up to 2006 under a directive from Sheikh Mohammad. This cap demonstrates the realisation that uncontrolled rents can hamper development. Legislation in this area is still sketchy as the property market is a new one and rights of tenants and landowners are based on shaky principles borrowed mainly from European law. Most contracts and tenancy agreements do not stand up to the standards of international law and almost always grossly favour the lessor or the company selling property.
Dubai information
 

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