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Lying on the southern shores of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai is one of the seven states which make up the United Arab Emirates. Located at the crossroads between East and West, the emirate's long-standing trading tradition has for centuries brought visitors from throughout the Middle East and neighbouring regions.

Today, Dubai plays host to an increasing number of visitors from the West and the Far East. The city attracts travelers seeking something new and different, offering international facilities combined with the adventure of the Middle East, and exotic destination with a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Originally a small fishing settlement, Dubai was taken over around 1830 by a branch of the Bani Yas tribe from the Liwa oasis led by the Maktoum family who still rule the emirate today.

Traditional activities included herding sheep and goats, cultivating dates, fishing and pearling. The liberal attitudes of the emirate's rulers made Dubai attractive to traders from India and Persia who began to settle in the growing town, which soon developed a strong reputation as the leading entrepot for the region. An independent emirate for most of its history, in 1971 Dubai came together with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah to create the federation of the United Arab Emirates.

The discovery of oil in 1966 dramatically transformed the emirate by allowing the development of the economic and social infrastructure which laid the foundations for today's modern society.

Much of the credit for this development can be traced to the vision of the late Ruler, HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who ensured that Dubai's oil revenues were deployed to maximum effect. His work has been continued by the present Ruler, HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It is located on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf. It has an area of some 3,900 square kilometres. Outside the city itself, the emirate is sparsely inhabited and characterized by desert vegetation. The landscape ranges from rugged mountains to majestic sand dunes. These days, oil contributes just twenty per cent of economic production. Trading, manufacturing and services—including tourism—now dominate the economy.

Dubai Attractions
• year-round sunshine
• uncrowded, clean sandy beaches
• luxury modern hotel accommodation
• tolerant welcoming ambience
• crime-free environment
• cosmopolitan lifestyle (alcohol is available in hotels)
• varied nightlife
• Arabian heritage
• exotic sights and experiences
• desert safaris
• bargain shopping (Dubai is a tax-free city)
• fabulous water sports
• deep-sea fishing and scuba diving
• three championship golf courses
• direct air links to more than 100 cities


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