As a one-of-a-kind city, virtually unparalleled by any other locale in the world, Dubai manages to blend modernity and tradition in a uniquely vibrant way. As anyone who has travelled there can confirm, Dubai is a city that will perpetually seduce tourists and locals alike.
From its pearl diving beginnings to its trendy royal family, here are five unique facts about Dubai:
1. Dubai owes its origins to pearl diving.
Initially, prior to tourism, Dubai made its living through oil. Yet, before oil, the city state’s principal trades were farming, fishing, and pearl diving.
In the 1770s, pearl diving was the primary source of income and trade for the villagers. There were 300 pearl diving dhows (traditional sailing boats) based in the area, with over 7,000 sailors onboard. Merchants from all around the world bought and traded for pearls from Dubai.
Men who were involved in the pearl diving trade would be out at sea from mid-May to early September, and would dive for up to 14 hours every day while the women remained at home and looked after their families.
Divers would reach the seabed with the aid of a nose clip and a weight tied around their waist, and then they used a rope to haul themselves up. The average dive would be ten metres deep, and each man would make, on average, 50 dives per day.
Eventually, the discovery of oil replaced the pearl diving trade. However, the significance of pearl diving remains a fundamental chapter in the history of Dubai.
2. Dubai has far more men than women.
Of Dubai’s 2.8 million population, almost 70 percent (1.7 million) are male. According to official census statistics, females account for just over 30 percent of the Dubai population. This substantial difference in percentage is customarily ascribed to the fact that most of the city’s large expat population are males whose families still reside in their home countries.
In fact, one of the things that makes Dubai genuinely unique is the vast number of expats who move to the city for business. Expats make up almost 80% of the entire population of the country, making Dubai one of the most internationally diverse cities in the world.
Additionally, Dubai’s population is made up of relatively young people, with 58 percent of the population aged between 25 and 44, and the majority of residents aged 30 to 34. Only 15 percent of the population is aged 45 or over.
3. Dubai’s royal family has lots of followers.
The Al Maktoum family, the royal family of Dubai, is incredibly popular in both Dubai and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Even more impressively, they command large followings on social media platforms.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, is affectionately known by his Instagram name, Fazza, to the six million people who follow him. He is extremely well-known and popular both among the residents of Dubai and around the world, which allows Dubai’s royal family to have an unprecedented relationship with “commoners”.
4. Dubai has a lot of desert!
As the most extensive stretch of sand in the world, The Empty Quarter sweeps across the southern part of the UAE and the surrounding areas of Dubai. It is a hugely popular destination for both tourists and residents who wish to marvel at one of the most breathtaking natural wonders of the world.
If you are looking for an exclusive retreat, consider spending a few nights at JA Hatta Fort Hotel to enjoy the breathtaking arid surrounding mountains.
5. Dubai has police cars unlike anywhere else.
It is no secret that Dubai is brimming with wealthy people who see no harm in flashing their wealth — especially at the best golf course in Dubai and in the form of supercars.
For this reason, it makes sense that the enforcers of law feel as though they couldn’t just drive around in basic cars (like police forces in the rest of the world!). Therefore, in order to keep up with the residents, some members of the police force in Dubai officially drive Bentleys, Lamborghinis, and Ferraris!
In fact, to go a step further, the Dubai police force added a McLaren to their fleet in December 2013, and a Bugatti Veyron in 2014. With its 691-horsepower mid-mounted V12 engine, their Lamborghini Aventador can go from zero-to-60 in less than three seconds and has a top speed of 217 miles per hour. Now that is a seriously fast police car!
If you haven’t visited Dubai yet, it’s a must that you include it in your travel bucket list. In addition to fancy police cars and the awe-inspiring desert expanse, the city has world-class dining, high-end shopping facilities, beautiful parks, and amusement centres to keep the whole family entertained.
Book a stay at the best all-inclusive resort in Dubai and see for yourself why Dubai is one of the most visited destinations in the world!
Thomas Grundner is the Group Director of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.”