10 Ways Dubai Has Changed in 10 Years | ExpatWoman.com

10 Ways Dubai Has Changed in 10 Years

We take a look how the Emirate has rapidly changed over the short span of 10 years, following an open letter from Dubai's ruler

Posted on

18 October 2016

Last updated on 14 January 2020
10 Ways Dubai Has Changed in 10 Years

When we think of Dubai, there's no denying we're all inspired by the rapid developments and achievements the emirate has made in such a short space of time. But how, and why? 

Credit is largely given to Sheikh Mohammed, Dubai's ruler who has been in power for a decade now. During his reign, he has implemented and governed a lot of changes and improvements to the emirate's infrastructure and services.

In an open letter published on LinkedIn, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE reflected on both the countrys 'decade of achievement' and the 'five years of challenge ahead.' As he states, 'it is important to pause occasionally and review our past work, measure our accomplishments and chart our road ahead', in preparation for things to come in the remaining five years before we reach the country's 2021 vision. 

10 Ways Dubai Has Changed in 10 Years

Throughout, he sheds light on an economy that has doubled in the past ten years, a diversified economy away from dependence on oil as well as growth and significant process in health and education industries. Not only that, but our roads are safer now and the UAE is now 16th on the compeitive economy scale, leaving it on a par with countries who have hundreds of years development behind them. 

SEE ALSO: A complete guide to life as an expat in Dubai

After his announcement, we wanted to delve deeper into the emirate's advances. As a result, we've picked ten of our favourite and most admirable ways that Dubai and the UAE has changed and developed in the past ten years. 

1. Dubai is the leader in man-made developments
Have you seen pictures of Dubai Marina in 2003? There's nothing there, except a couple of construction sites and a huge water-filled lake. No, over ten years later, the Dubai Marina is a favourite location for residents and tourists alike. Home to some of the most sophisticated structures like Cayan Tower. The marina itself is man-made, carved out of the sand and rocks below.

Not only that, but Dubai will be home to the Marasi Business Bay Promenade, which again is man-made, as well as the Dubai Water Canal. After all, if it's not there, what's stopping you from making it! This mentality is also apparent in rumours that the UAE is mulling over a man-made mountain. 

2. The biggest, tallest, widest, strongest and largest
Does Dubai have the tallest building in the world? Check, that's Burj Khalifa. And the largest indoor theme park? Check, just head to IMG Worlds of Adventure. What about the largest shopping mall? Have you seen the size of The Dubai Mall? What's more impressive is the largest indoor aquarium inside of that mall. Worlds largest indoor ski slope? Yep, there's that here too. Worlds most luxurious hotel? The Burj Al Arab proudly lives up to its 7* reputation. Largest fireworks display? Yep, Dubai did that in 2014 for New Year's Even celebrations. 

What we're trying to point out is that Dubai has this ambitious mentality to break records. It's this attitude that has helped to envision and create some of the most impressive buildings and attractions across the world. It doesn't stop there, as Dubai has already planned the next tallest tower and the world's largest ferris wheel. 

Dubai's population over a decade

3. The emirate's population has rapidly increased 
In 2006, according to the Government of Dubai's official website, the emirate had an estimated permanent residing population of 1,421,812 people. Add on top of that an additional 306,157 of workers residing outside of Dubai and temporary residents and the number is a total of 1,727,969.

While the statistics for 2016 are not yet confirmed, the rapid growth is evident in 2015's numbers. 2015 saw a total of 2,446,675 permanent residents and over 1,105,500 workers who reside outside of the emirate and temporary residents. That leaves a combined total of an estimated 3,552,175 total bodies active in Dubai in 2015. Of course, this huge change in numbers may raise concerns regarding the infrastructure of the emirate, but not to worry...

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4. Roads are safer now, and  transport has improved overall
While there's more cars on the road, driving by a number of different nationalities, as Sheikh Mohammed's states, roads have become all-round safer. He explains the rate of road accident fatalities has dropped from '16 to each 100 thousand population' down to '5.9 to every 100 thousand'. 

If residents are unable to drive, they now have the option of the Dubai Metro, which began operating in 2009 and is still being expanded, improved RTA taxi services, private taxi options as well as RTA's popular buses, water taxis, water buses and ferries on offer. Not only that, but the emirate's aviation services have significantly improved, with Dubai International Airport (DXB) and the advancing Dubai World Central (DWC) - a.k.a. Al Maktoum International Airport - that is undergoing continued advancements. 

Roads are safe in Dubai

5. It's a go-to destination for tourists
As per the Dubai Government's website, back in 2003, the emirate was home to only 255 hotels and a total of 49,857 hotel rooms on offer. In 2015, that increased to 461 hotels and 72,473 hotel rooms. Today, with the most recent information provided from the second quarter of 2016, the numbers have again increased rapdily to 675 hotels in total, and 99,618 hotel rooms. The top five nationalities to visit Dubai in 2015 were Indian, Saudi Arabian, British, Omani and American, with Pakistani and Iranian in close 6th and 7th. 

It's no surprise that tourists love to visit from the GCC and worldwide, when there's some fantastic and fun attractions to visit while here. It's most definitely one of the top entertainment destinations in the world; with theme parks, fastest roller coasters, and the opening of developments like IMG Worlds of Adventure and Dubai Parks and Resorts, as well as the Dubai Safari and more. 

6. The UAE loves to break world records
To expand our second point, the UAE is home to a number of different type of world records, as well as the biggest and tallest. In fact, the UAE has over 170 world records alone, and all vary from the weird and wonderful ones, like the largest chocolate mosaic and largest Dallah coffee pot, to the down-right awesome like the highest base jump from a building and tallest hotel in the world. 

7. It's become the ultimate shopping destination
Did you know that there is a total of 72 completed malls that exist in Dubai? With 8 more in the planning and construction stages. There's that many that we had to pick our top ten malls for you to visit while living here. With so much floor space of retail, food and entertainment, it's no wonder Dubai is one of the world's go-to destinations that is perfect to shop until you drop. From crats and boutiques to huge, luxury designer brands, you'll find everything and anything in the walls of Dubai's malls. And all vary in size and decoration. From the small and eloquent Mercato Mall to the huge, modern and bustling Dubai Mall in Downtown Dubai. 

SEE ALSO: See the best of Dubai with just AED 50 to spend

8. It is a major trading and export hub
In the past ten years, Dubai has developed from a local, to regional and now global port operator for trading. What was once a natural harbour and creek that was prime for fishing, pearling and sea trade has progressed over the years to become a significant, global port. 

Dubai is a safe country

9. We're living in one of the safest places in the world
The United Arab Emirates was ranked one of the safest countries in the world in the World Economic Forum's 2015 report, ranked third after Qatar and Finland. The report works out the ranking based on the costs of crime and violence for businesses, the reliability of police services as well as the business costs of terror threats. Anyone living here understands the etiquette and behaviour expected of all individuals both living and visiting the emirate. Penalties enforced are effective as a preventative measure against crime in the country.

10. Dubai is an open-minded, multicutural place to live
Understandably, due to the influx of expatriates from around the world moving to live and work in Dubai, the emirate is often referred to as a 'melting pot' of cultures and nationalities. Due to the varying languages, principles and practices that exist here, everybody who lives here sort of accepts and grows with different types of people they'd never have dreamt of meeting back in their home countries.

Because of this, what's left is a unique opportunity to experience so many different ways of life, styles, cuisines and practices leaving all expats and locals somewhat more open-minded than they would be had they lived anywhere else in the world. 


What are your thoughts? How do you think Dubai has changed in the past 10 years? Leave us your comment below!