To visitors from Europe, the Americas, Asia and countries throughout the world, the outward manifestation of the Emirates' successful union of 40 years ago, is the extraordinary imagination of its architecture and infrastructure. In the case of Dubai, its modernistic skyscrapers and tower blocks that line Shaikh Zayed Road and Dubai Marina are a tribute to the vision of the Dubai Government in town planning and in establishing a world-class infrastructure that puts even New York in the shade.
A superb new transport system is the new Dubai Metro that runs from Jebel Ali to Dubai Creek. A fast, safe and reliable monorail system with futuristic, air-conditioned stations along its route, that carries thousands of passengers each day to work, and back home at a reasonable cost.
I am often left wondering at how the traffic-jammed European cities compare badly with Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which also have increasing traffic congestion but seem to be far more capable of handling the problem.
The other valuable attribute of the Emirates is the safety of its residents compared to other countries. In either London or New York, I would hesitate before venturing out, alone, at night whereas in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, I feel completely safe. And this, of course, is extremely important in terms of the quality of life. There are few things that can increase the stress of modern living and working, than the fear of violent crime, personal assault, mugging or house break-ins. In the UAE, the incidence of these is far less than in the West.
And as for working in a modern, air-conditioned office block with every conceivable technological facility, that is an added bonus for all those who work in them.
Dubai is known throughout the world as a favourite long-haul destination, offering 5-star luxury hotels to a standard rarely seen elsewhere — and, of course, the only six-star hotel anywhere in the world, the Burj Al Arab.
Arriving at Dubai's new international airport, I am overwhelmed by the beauty of its design and its scale which makes it the largest new airport in the world, where passengers are checked in faster than any airport that I have travelled through anywhere. And topping all these achievements is the amazing Burj Khalifa, the tallest occupied building anywhere on the planet!
Personally, I consider it a privilege to be a small part of the life of a nation that shows the world what can be achieved through the vision of one family that has steered the Emirates to the top tier of global importance in terms of both international tourism and Middle East commerce. Jebel Ali is the most important US base in the region and the UAE is closely allied with America in terms of defence and security.
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As an author and broadcaster, travelling the world, I am always impressed each time I arrive in Dubai to see the recent additions to the skyline and to speak with both Emiratis and expatriates on the growth of the UAE. However, I am impressed even before I arrive! Travelling from London on an Emirates Airbus is an experience that only seasoned air travellers like myself can fully appreciate. The level of service, entertainment and comfort is unrivalled by any airline in the world. Where other carriers offer maybe 10 or 20 films, Emirates offer an entertainment programme of over 200 movies. I usually watch two films during the flight, arriving in Dubai refreshed and rested.
Abu Dhabi is in the forefront of carbon-saving technology research with its ground-breaking Masdar Initiative that places Abu Dhabi as a leader in this vital research and development programme for future sustainable, alternative energy supplies.
Travelling along the Shaikh Zayed Road last week, the signs and posters were everywhere, proclaiming the 40th anniversary of the Spirit of the Union with the red, green, white and black of the flag of the Emirates proudly fluttering from every building as everyone felt a sense of pride in contributing to the success of the UAE.
Like everyone else, I felt that too.
The author is a BBC guest-broadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international stress management and employee well-being consultancy based in London.
- Success requires vision
- A vision requires leaders
- Leaders command respect