Dubai has quickly commanded a position as the main tourist hotspot in the Middle East. The region is one of the seven Emirates which make up UAE and is a favoured stop off destination on long haul tours and is dominated by the eponymous chief city of the area. Increasingly, Dubai has garnered a reputation as a holiday destination in its own right and is a new favourite amongst European package holiday makers attracted by the sun, sand and abundance of cheap luxury and designer goods.
The city is dominated by the high rise luxury hotels which puncture the skyline and Dubai has placed itself at the higher end of the holiday market. Heavy investment in the infrastructure of Dubai in recent years stems from the status of the Emirate as an oil rich economy. Coupled with the income from tourism, Dubai is booming – a feature evident in the large scale construction projects that permeate the cityscape.
As a destination, Dubai has typical elements of the package destination, but the emphasis and placement of the destination towards the high end of the market means that Dubai has managed to carve out a specific niche. The beaches attract a massive influx of travellers from around the globe as do the hotels which, in some cases, are a spectacle in themselves as well as the tourist draws of the month long Dubai Shopping Festival, an abundance of championship quality golf courses and the annual F1 Grand Prix.
But for the more independent traveller, Dubai is often overlooked simply as a western style holiday destination. The unique blend of west meets middle east typified the look and feel of Dubai, but outside the city itself there is much to interest the more curious traveller. The wider region of Dubai is a land of contrasts from the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula to the expansive coastline. One of the most popular and rewarding attractions is a Bedouin desert safari located some 50 miles outside of the city. Visitors who scratch beneath the shiny surface of the city are often with a real glimpse into Middle Eastern life and a sample of the historic and cultural legacy that is retained within Emirate life. Exploring the wider region of Dubai is relatively easy, although the public transport system doesn’t cover all areas and the best option is perhaps car rental. Car hire in Dubai is relatively straightforward with most of the major car rental firms retaining a presence in Dubai.