All over Dubai not living up to its own hype, but especially that rare are the people who come to Dubai without having heard the hype and that the reality of the city never completely fulfills the expectations.
For example, you might think that Dubai is designed to be a playground for the rich and famous, but that’s not entirely true. Dubai is primarily designed for mass tourism, but with Oases of great luxury to attract the rich and famous who themselves attracts the general public. It is no coincidence that the Jumeirah Hotel (aimed at a middle-class clientele) was opened before the Burj Al Arab.
I remember in 2014 a colleague who was working on the airport of Tripoli, explained to me that the vision was to compete with Dubai but only in the upper segments and I said to myself “he understood nothing”.
And coincidentally, has just published a autobiography and he tells the same story, but from his (better informed) point of view. He is approached by the Libyan government that asks him for help to develop the tourism in Libya, he accepts and sends his right arm in charge of the tourism, this dignitary returns disgusted: “They understood nothing, they do not even try to understand. Sheikh decides that if he speaks in person, leader to leader, there will succeed in explaining to his method.
So when you returns to Dubai, he concludes that apart from Saif there is nothing good coming from the Libyan government. In fact, Dubai luxury tourism is probably not profitable, it is likely that the Bawa costs more than it yields … directly. On the other hand, the presence of celebrities reinforces the mystique of Dubai and the idea that you could meet them at the corner of a street, in a shopping center or on a beach attracts the tourists. And this is not a vain hope, as the UAEE are extremely safe and because of the great mix of nationality unless you are of Hollywood or Bollywood, you will not be recognized by everyone, it is common to see celebrities in places that ordinary people also frequent. On the other hand, not everybody is treated like a celebrity, the basic services are of very good quality, but the transfers in Rolls Royce and the Steaks covered with gold are not within the reach of the tourists. I can imagine that some tourists are returning from Dubai disappointed because they did not receive the luxury treatment, they imagined was standard in Dubai.
when you are a resident, you will never be assimilated to the Emirati. You stay in Dubai only as long as you produce wealth for the country (either by labor or investment), you must be ready at all times to pay your debts and leave. This Sword of Damocles is often forgotten by some expats who go into debt to the point of not being able to leave the country. In addition there is no job security, in case of a recession, even minor, companies lay off as much as they can, this is especially true in a sector such as real estate which is not considered strategic (the strategic sectors in Dubai are the 3T: Trade, Tourism and Transport).
So there is no guarantee that you will make a fortune, it is possible, but it is not guaranteed. How many times have I heard what would be the Business Case to launch such product (Lingerie, Car Rental, Home Service …) in Dubai?”, and often when I replied that the market already existed and that it was rather saturated, I was often told that the in-market competitors did not have the vision that the newcomer had.
Well that were bold statement that never materialized. Dreamers often overestimate the wealth of Dubai (it is not a bottomless money well) and underestimate the professionalism of the teams already in place in Dubai (It is because we know our job so well that we have been recruited and we are allowed to stay).
Dubai is a city that deserves to be known and recognized, I like to live there and I think it allowed me to give my daughters a childhood and education out of the ordinary, but it is easy to overestimate because nothing can match the hype that surrounds it.