An oasis of calm in the Middle East, Dubai attracts eager tourists. But is it a Miracle Or Mirage?
From ski slopes in the desert to man-made islands grouped to look like continents, Dubai is like no other place in the world. Surrounded by war zones, Dubai is an oasis of calm and the home of superlatives – the biggest building, the largest airport, the tallest hotel, the biggest mall, the richest horse race... the list goes on. Forty years ago it was a sleepy backwater, now Dubai is a magnet for the young and ambitious. But while it's become a centre of luxury and excess, it is also home to hundred of thousands of migrant labourers with little or no rights. They, along with a tsunami of other expats, are transforming Dubai into an economic and tourist powerhouse.
To accommodate foreigners, especially the tourists, Dubai, a Muslim state, turns a blind eye to some of the visitors' excesses, to the great displeasure of many of the local Emirati. The driving force behind all this change is Dubai's leader, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. He, with the help of his Maktoum relatives, has set Dubai on a daring course to be the first non-oil based economy in this volatile part of the world.