Dubai’s economy was built on the back of the oil industry, which developed rapidly after oil was first struck in the mid 1960s. Since then Dubai has developed a diverse economy and by 2000 the oil sector accounted for just 10 percent of Dubai’s GDP. The city now has thriving manufacturing, finance, information technology and tourism sectors and is home to numerous multinational companies such as AT&T, General Motors, Heinz, IBM, Shell, and Sony. Figures published by the Dubai Development and Investment Authority show that Dubai’s GDP totaled $16.4 billion US in 2000.
Dubai International Airport is the busiest in the Middle East and, according to the Airports Council International (ACI), is one of the fastest growing airports in the world. It catered for approximately 16 million passengers in 2002, an increase of some 18 percent on the previous year, and is expected to cater for 30 million passengers a year by 2010. The airport has benefited from considerable investment and, in 2000, the first stage of expansion was completed with the opening of a new terminal. This brought the airports capacity up to 22 million passengers a year. The next stage of expansion work is currently underway and is due to be completed in 2006. By 2018 the airport plans to have a total passenger handling capacity of 45 million.
According to figures from the Ministry of Planning, Dubai had an employed workforce of more than 522,000 people in 2000. The trade sector was the biggest employer, accounting for 25 per cent of employment, followed by manufacturing, construction and services. Government services were responsible for employing 9 percent of the workforce.
Dubai is a truly cosmopolitan city with a lively and modern environment that offers a fantastic quality of life. The city benefits from excellent schools, modern medical facilities and great shopping and entertainment opportunities. Dubai also plays host to a fantastic horse racing track and the ATP tennis tour and there is an annual shopping festival, which is gaining an international reputation.
Office occupancy costs in Dubai are extremely competitive. Figures from a report published by Richard Ellis Global Research & Consulting in 2002 put the total occupancy cost of offices in Dubai at $24.10 US per square foot per annum.