Why have tourists fallen in love with Dubai?
As we head into 2015, there's little doubt that Dubai is firmly enshrined as one of the top tourism destinations in the world. The emirate has grown rapidly in the last few years, bringing more and more people flooding across from overseas to sample all that it has to offer.
With a busy and successful 2014 coming to a close, the Dubai-based global airline Emirates and the local Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing have launched a new campaign called See You in Dubai, which aims to further publicise the appeal of the city to a global audience.
But why has the world fallen in love with the emirate in the way that it undoubtedly has? A quick consideration of the many facets, unique features and appealing elements of the destination reveal that Dubai has something to offer almost everyone, with much more to come in 2015 and beyond.
Here are five examples of the very best aspects of Dubai's tourist culture:
Ranked by CBRE as the second most important international retail destination globally for the third consecutive year in 2014, Dubai has developed a reputation as a paradise for shoppers, with countless lavish malls and stores selling all manner of high-end luxury goods, including designer clothing, souped-up cars, pristine watches, high-tech smartphones and much more.
It is home to the Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping centre and the most-visited shopping and leisure destination globally, as well as the equally impressive Mall of the Emirates, and will soon act as the site of the eight million sq ft Mall of the World, which is expected to attract some 180 million visitors to the city when it is completed.
Dubai is packed with one-of-a-kind sights and attractions unlike any seen anywhere else in the world. The most eye-catching of these is likely to be the towering Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, which affords visitors the opportunity to ascend by elevator and enjoy a bird's eye view of the sprawling metropolis.
Visitors can also see elements of the older and more historic parts of the emirate nestled among the resplendent modern architecture, including the Dubai Museum at the restored Al Fahidi Fort or the Heritage Village of Hatta, the history of which stretches back more than 2,000 years.
Because of Dubai's growing stature as a hub for tourism and international travel, interest in using the city as the destination for high-profile events is growing accordingly. One of the most prominent in the near future is the forthcoming 2020 World Expo, which will give Dubai the opportunity to show itself off as a global culture capital. Other big draws include the annual Dubai Shopping Festival and the events that take place each year for Christmas and the New Year.
Sports fans might be interested in highlights such as the Dubai World Cup horse race and Dubai Classic golf championship, while fashion events are also becoming more frequent than ever before in the emirate.
Dubai's hotel sector is one of the fastest-growing in the world, with occupancy rates rising steadily during 2014 as more and more visitors take advantage of the many luxurious facilities available to them.
Famous examples include the impressive seven-star Burj Al Arab, as well as high-profile establishments such as the Atlantis, the Al Maha Desert Resort, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Bab Al Shams, Dusit Thani, Armani Hotel and Mina A'Salam.
Something for everyone
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of tourist life in Dubai is its sheer versatility. Whether visitors are interested in shopping, sightseeing, music, sports or relaxation, there are events and attractions that will appeal to them directly.
The city is also a great place for family visitors, thanks to the high standards of law and order and the prevalence of child-friendly attractions such as theme parks, with big brands like Legoland and Six Flags coming soon to Dubai.
All of these facets help to explain why interest in Dubai holidays has never been higher, with the city well on course to meet its goal of achieving an annual visitor total of 20 million by 2020.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive at Emirates Airline and Group, said: 'Dubai is a global hub and a global destination in itself. From Emirates' perspective, it is our unique differentiator. Our mission has always been to connect Dubai to the world, and connect the world through Dubai.'
He added: 'Last year, Dubai welcomed more than 11 million visitors and our aim is to continue to grow these numbers by constantly enhancing every aspect of Dubai's destination offering, making our city the top choice for all types of travellers from across the globe.'
Posted by Bob Brunskill