By Mohammad Hussain Al Yusefi, Special to Gulf News www.gulfnews.com
The summer in Dubai is different from that anywhere else in the world. Of course, it is not substantially different in terms of temperature from other parts of the Gulf, while temperatures in the Levant, Egypt and the Maghreb are lower than those in Dubai during June, July and September.
But if it is measured in terms of tourism and the number of visitors who come to spend a weekend or a longer holiday in Dubai in the summer, it competes strongly with Arab countries that enjoy less harsh weather.
I have visited Dubai several times this summer and noticed the huge number of tourists from different parts of the world.
Wherever I went, I saw people of various nationalities — British, German, American, Australian and Indian, as well as Arabs who come from the Gulf or elsewhere.
In fact, tourism in Dubai, especially on feast days, special occasions and the weekend, has a unique character. Dubai has become a major attraction and a destination of choice.
I have found that there is a vast difference between GCC and European tourists in terms of the way they spend their time and money. At least, this is the impression that I have got from my many visits to Dubai.
In general, European tourists come in groups and stick to their budgets, while GCC tourists often come with their families and do not limit their expenses. GCC women spend large amounts of money shopping in Dubai’s malls and markets, while children spend their money on amusements.
Also, I have noticed that GCC tourists do not mind having their meals in their hotel rooms, but foreign tourists avoid room service due to the high prices.
What surprised and delighted me was that I saw many GCC families using the Dubai Metro — not necessarily to save money, but rather to explore.
Needless to say, the Dubai Metro is a magnet for tourists as well as an economical, comfortable, fast means of transport.
Before my last visit, I made an online booking for a hotel in the Marina. I was surprised that the distance between the airport and the hotel was more than 30 kilometres and the cost of a taxi would be more than Dh160. I decided to use the Metro to reach my destination — not to save money, but because I wanted to try it. It was an amazing experience, and it cost me a minimal amount.
Part of Dubai’s vitality is that it continues to surprise everyone, and routinely makes unexpected announcements.
Recently, Dubai revealed that it had ordered aircraft and engines worth Dh51 billion at the Farnborough International Airshow. The announcement came while the effects of the global financial crisis are still being felt around the world, and following malicious media campaigns against the emirate and its successful model.
By signing these deals, Dubai stepped into a new era of development of its air transport and aviation industry, signaling a bright future.
Earlier this summer, Dubai opened its second airport — Al Maktoum International — which is designed to be the world’s largest cargo airport, and will also serve passengers when completed next year.
Dubai is truly fantastic.
Dr Mohammad Hussain Al Yusefi teaches at Kuwait University.