By Jami Miedema

Can you imagine living in a city whose attractions boast “The World,” the 8th World Wonder, and the tallest architectural structure on the globe? For residents in the city of Dubai, UAE, one of the fastest growing cities in the world, this is rapidly becoming a reality.

Earlier this year, the Dubai government released its Strategic Plan for the objective of cementing its city as a world-renowned center in all aspects of work and play. Already under way, this Plan aims to complete its goals by 2015. The backbone of the blueprint relies on the development of five key areas; Social Development, Infrastructure/Environment, Security/Safety, Government Excellence, and Economic Development. According to the Strategic Plan, the last area, economic development, is sustained through travel and tourism, financial and professional services, transportation and logistics, trade and storage, and construction. In Dubai, the outlook for these industries is promising, as we can see.

The travel and tourism sector is expected to flourish, especially with the creation of the three man-made Palm Islands and The World, which will house numerous luxury hotels, shopping parks, restaurants, entertainment venues, and residences. It is expected that fifty-seven hotels will be underway by 2011. To accommodate the influx of tourists, the Dubai International Airport is looking to expand its capacity to 75 million passengers by building a new terminal. This projected number is more than double the 35 million passengers presumed to pass through Dubai International Airport this year alone.

Dubai’s interest in hotels is not limited to its shores, as the Dubai Investment Group recently purchased the Essex House Hotel in New York City. Other investments include a 70% stake in the Dubai Bank and a 68% stake in Thomas Cook, an India-based travel company.

Transportation and logistics is yet another industry in which Dubai is making its name known. The city is becoming a major logistics hub for the Middle East, Africa, Southeastern Europe, and parts of Asia, due to its location on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula. What’s more, DP World, a Dubai-based ports operation company, has come to operate over forty ports in every continent thanks to its $6 billion acquisition of a U.K. ports company. An expansion of the shipbuilding and maintenance industries in Dubai has also gone hand-in-hand with the ports expansion.

In addition, Dubai has become a major exchange for the trade of goods such as gold, steel, and fuel. In 2006, trade amounted to $9.8 billion and continues to grow rapidly at about 23% per year. New exchanges are set to open in the near future.

The aforementioned endeavors are just a few of the many strategies underway to propel Dubai toward meeting the main objective of its Strategic Plan. Perhaps the city’s most important investment is in the people residing there. As one of the Plan’s key areas, social development is being nurtured. The University of Dubai is building a new campus, and education at all levels will be improved by upgrading curriculums, teaching methods, and access to quality education. The government has also put in place an initiative to help the locals develop their skills and assist them in finding work. In addition, the social sector can expect to see improvements in healthcare, work environment, and cultural life.

As with any country, city, or company, Dubai’s strategies are only as effective as the leaders who implement them. Moving forward with a united vision for Dubai, the government strives for excellence by addressing reforms for efficiency, accountability, and responsiveness. Time, alone, will reveal the outcome of their master plan.

Source: Dubai eGovernment. (2007, July 17). Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2007, from