Business is booming in Dubai according to new statistics released on the performance of the emirate. Last month the Dubai Financial Market General Index soared by 21%, registering higher than any other global gain. The city’s economy is also forecast to rise by as much as 5% this year, after growing 3% in 2011, according to the chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee.
"Dubai's economy is the best it's been since 2008," Simon Cooper, chief executive officer of HSBC Holdings Plc's Middle East business told Dubai’s Gulf News. "Growth is not being driven just by real estate, but also by trade and finance." Factors such as Dubai’s strategic position between East and West, civil unrest elsewhere in the region and its status as a ‘safe haven’, as well as rising oil prices have all helped Dubai to post a strong economic performance over the last year.
In 2011, a record 51 million passengers passed through Dubai International Airport, while visitor traffic grew by 14% in January 2012, compared to the same period last year. 9.3 million tourists flocked to the city, pushing hotel revenue up by 20%. Proof of this boom are the city's largest malls such as Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates. They are operating at over 90 per cent occupancy rates, with shoppers contributing to around 30% of Dubai’s gross domestic product last year, according to figures from Standard Chartered Bank. Businesses have also been flocking to open shop in the city, with a total of 14,360 new licenses issued by the Department of Economic Development – marking a rise of 3.9% on 2010.