How has Dubai become a model of economic diversification in the region?
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) - On a sunny October morning more than three decades ago, an unknown airline flew its inaugural flight into the skies. With limited resources, the airline hired two Pakistan International Airlines to make its first trip to the Pakistani city of Karachi.
Today, Emirates, based in Dubai, is a global airline giant. Its distinctive logo is spread over the Premier League football jerseys and the stadiums are decorated in world championships. With more than 60.5 million passengers at the end of 2017 and 2017, it has become the world's largest international airline.
The continued progress of Emirates has played a key role in highlighting Dubai's advanced economic plans, as Dubai has taken advantage of its strategic position to revitalize the economy. Instead of relying on the depleted oil supplier, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, On a permanent resource, ie the geography of Dubai.
The emirate lies along the main commercial routes between East and West and enjoys free access to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean across the Arabian Gulf coast. From Dubai, one-third of the world can be flown within four hours, and two-thirds within eight hours. In short, Dubai has a very important commercial geography.
Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum's famous phrase "What is important to traders important to Dubai" is embodied in many achievements such as the drying of the Dubai Creek in the early 1960s to allow commercial vessels to dock and the establishment of the huge seaport, Jebel Ali in 1979, Ninth, as the largest container port in the world with weekly services to 140 ports. Sheikh Rashid, then his son Sheikh Mohammed, focused on trade, transport and tourism. These three elements constituted a strategic diversification to create an independent oil economy in the booming emirate.
In 2014, Dubai International Airport overtook Heathrow Airport in London to be the world's busiest airport in terms of international travelers. Dubai plans to build the Al Maktoum International Airport, which has already opened for cargo flights. When completed in 2025, Dubai will be the new seat for Emirates, which can accommodate up to 120 million passengers. Airlines account for more than a quarter of Dubai's GDP and could reach 44 per cent by 2030, according to a study by Oxford University.
Last year, China overtook India as Dubai's largest trading partner, while a third of international flights from India go to the United Arab Emirates, according to Indian aviation authorities. China's tourism to Dubai saw a remarkable growth of 46 per cent in 2017, while Indian travelers were around 2 million.
All of the above raises the question: Can the diverse economic resources that have proven successful in Dubai employ as a regional model? With rapid urbanization, a growing middle class and technological advances that fuel the growth of emerging markets, there will be scope for other aviation and shipping centers, particularly along the coastline of the Arabian Peninsula.
Oman has access to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea through the southern port of Salalah, and plans a major industrial zone, partially funded by Chinese investment, along the East Arabian Sea coast. The vision of Saudi Arabia 2030 sets a plan for the Kingdom to become "a center linking three continents".
Dubai is keen to add value to the city, turning it into a technology center, at the forefront of Qin Block technology and transportation technology, with an Emirates-led mission to Mars.