Plans are afoot to make Dubai the world’s most visited city.
Currently, that honour is bestowed upon London, with a whopping 16.8 million tourists visiting the UK capital in 2013, compared to Dubai’s 11 million visitors last year.
Dubai hopes to surpass London’s figures by the end of the decade, with Expo 2020 – an international architecture and technology trade fair – bringing an additional $23bn into the emirate.
Tourism is booming in Dubai, but grand plans for growth are gathering pace, with a multi-billion dollar tourism, retail and arts centre being built, which is set to accommodate 35m visitors yearly.
Mohammed Bin Rashid City will comprise of the largest art gallery area in the Middle East and North Africa and house the world’s biggest shopping mall, which has been dubbed the “Mall of the World”.
But that’s not all.
A £963m reclaimed land development – Bluewaters Island – will boast the largest Ferris wheel on the globe, with hundreds of new restaurants and hotels springing up to accommodate tourists.
Add in Dubai Creek, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and a desert safari, and it’s safe to say every kind of tourist is catered for in this culture rich emirate.
Evidently, there are already hundreds of diversions to keep you happy in Dubai – but what do you really need to know about the best places to stay, restaurants to dine in and attractions to visit?
Where to Stay
Statistics from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing point to around 400 hotels for the discerning traveller. However, to experience the real magic of Dubai, we recommend laying your head at Atlantis, The Palm to enjoy five-star luxury set in an aquatic wonderland. Located on a man-made island, Atlantis is surrounded by stunning architecture and award-winning restaurants.
Where to Eat
There are plenty of top drawer eateries in and around Atlantis, but if you’re heading out to explore, check out the romantic Pierchic, which, as the name suggests, is set on a pier poking out into the Arabian Gulf. Alternatively, if you fancy some Chinese cuisine while you’re in Dubai, head to Hukama for al fresco dining and some unforgettably stunning views of the Burj Khalifa.
Where to Go
Dubai isn’t known as the City of Gold for nothing, which is why you should attempt to pick some up while you’re there. Getting around can be tricky, but treat yourself to a luxury car rental in Dubai and you’ll be free as a bird. Renowned for its reasonable prices, the Gold Souk offers the opportunity to pick up some quality merchandise at knock down costs. Additionally, away from the modernity, you may want to visit the Bastakia Quarter for a reminder of the days when Dubai was a quiet fishing village.
Although the above list is far from exhaustive, the veritable smorgasbord of activities on offer for tourists visiting Dubai means it’s an extremely good place to start your emirate adventure …