Over the years, Dubai has positioned itself as the industry heartbeat of the Middle East. It is the most popular and fastest-growing city of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. The once maritime port has become the core of industrial activities for the UAE, GCC, and MENA.
Dubai is arguably the Emirate with the most diversified economy. It is known as a tourist attraction, transport hub, trade center, and one of the world’s most luxurious cities. This guide provides the latest industry statistics of Dubai to help you understand the business landscape.
Tourism & Hospitality
Dubai attracts tourists in their numbers. Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Burj al Arab, and many more exquisite hotels and resorts are all fun-filled places to visit. Entrepreneurs operating in the tourism and hospitality sector finds it lucrative. The currently contributes over 7.5 million direct and indirect employment opportunities and about Dh200 billion annually. The Dubai Tourism Strategy 2027 will have the sector make a direct contribution of Dh 108.4 billion by 2028. EXPO 2020 will attract more than 25 million visitors from around the world.
Logistics is another lucrative industry that holds a lot of promise for investors. The UAE is one of the preferred locations for the logistics business, and Dubai boasts of an international logistics hub worth over $30 billion. Jebel Ali Free Zone connects the UAE to 140 international ports, and the Dubai Logistics City is for investors to set up more flexible logistics businesses in the region.
Food & Beverages
A food business is essential because people will always get hungry. You can make cool money from importing food for the massive population in Dubai. The UAE practices organic farming and leverages technology for livestock farming, aquaculture, and gardening. Every year in Dubai, over 5000 exhibitors gather at different trade events like the Gulf Food to showcase food items. You may decide to start a bakery, fast food, catering service, or even a cafeteria. A license is required to operate a food business in Dubai.
Oil & Gas
The oil and gas industry includes exploration, extraction, transportation, refinement, and distribution of petroleum products. The UAE is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and is the world’s seventh-largest holder of oil reserves. Although Abu Dhabi is a more prominent player in the UAE, there are opportunities in Dubai’s oil and gas sector. Business options include starting up a filling or gas station, oil & gas consultancy, consultancy, or refinery.
Trade contributes 28% of Dubai’s GDP. Its main trade partners include India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, China, United States, Germany, and Japan. Dubai is a large market for varieties of edibles, textiles, jewelry, furniture, vehicles, and other commodities. Foreign direct investments in Dubai have skyrocketed over the years with promises of returns.
There is a demand for accommodation from a large number of expatriates and visitors who daily relocate to Dubai. Its Free Zones provides 100% ownership to foreign businesses, does not charge taxes, and provides the latest infrastructure for business set up. Real estate is one of the most profitable in the UAE and contributes about 7% to the overall GDP. Dubai is home to the tallest skyscrapers, malls, residential and office buildings in the world.
Retail & Manufacturing
Dubai is the home of ‘Souks’, the native name for the Arab marketplace. It is one of the world’s preferred shopping destinations with over 70 shopping malls. Every year, retailers from different countries visit to participate in the Dubai Shopping Festival and the Dubai Summer Surprises. The manufacturing industry also contributes a great deal to the economy. In Dubai, you can find manufacturers of building materials, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals, industrial equipment, and general merchandise.
In a nutshell, Dubai has become the one-stop-center of industrial activities in the UAE. Dubai is diversifying from a trade-based economy to one that is services and tourism-oriented. Daily, visitors from everywhere come in hundreds of thousands to either work, trade, or tour. The city is very hospital and doing business has been made easy by the visionary leadership of the Emirati government.
Written by Joy Ejere Uche