According to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2019, Dubai also tops the list for visitor spending, with out-of-towners shelling out up to $31 billion per year.
The city has a reputation as an entertainment destination and glitzy shopping. However, it has much more than high-end malls and grand theatre spectacles.
It is not a country
Dubai is often mistakenly thought of as a country in its own right. In fact, it is one of seven states in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was established in 1971 after independence from the United Kingdom.
Dubai, the largest city in the UAE, is one of the main entry points into the country and one of the busiest transit hubs in the world with 88 million people passing through Dubai International Airport every year.
Pearl diving was its main industry
In 1966, oil was discovered in Dubai. Before this year, the local economy was mostly based on aquatic activities like pearl diving and the city used to be a small fishing village.
The gross domestic product (GDP) of the UAE is $414 billion, and it is expected to grow by 2.4 percent in 2019, partly driven by faster growth in the oil sector. Dubai produces about 84,000 barrels of crude oil per day. However, that is not the only contributor to Dubai’s success.
More than 90% of business activity in the city now comes from a range of other sectors, such as logistics, real estate, financial services, construction and manufacturing.
According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 of the World Economic Forum, the UAE is ranked 25th, which makes it become the most competitive economy in the Arab world, based on factors including skills, innovation, and macroeconomic stability.