Dubai: For residents of Dubai, it hardly comes as any surprise that the city figures in Time magazine’s list of top 100 places to visit in 2021. As far as they are concerned, the emirate is the best place to be in. Having seen the city spring up from a barren desert to what it is today, the native Emiratis take great pride in calling Dubai their home.
Asked what it is about Dubai that appeals to him the most, Mohammed Sultan Thani, a senior official with the Dubai Land Department and popular Instagrammer, says, “Everything.”
Dubai is the place to be
“Back in time, when I would travel and people would ask me where I was from, they were clueless when I would say Dubai. Today, I get a different reaction. A cab driver in Tokyo for example got so excited when he learnt I was from Dubai. He told me it was his dream to come here and work as a jockey.”
According to Thani, Dubai’s emphatic global presence today is a reflection of the vision of its leadership. “People from different parts of the world want to come to this port city where they enjoy a rare freedom to work, live and raise children. In short, it is the place to be.”
Thani firmly believes the beauty of Dubai lies in its people. Capturing the lives of everyday people on his Insta page, Thani tells the story of Dubai through them. The 20,000-plus posts on his Insta page provide fascinating insights into the daily lives of people in different areas, be it the Dubai Creek, the Deira Fish Market or the Gold and Textile Souks. “No one can symbolise the success of Dubai better than them,” he says.
A rich mix of offerings
Rashad Bukash, Chairman of the Architectural Heritage Society – UAE, shares the feeling. “Dubai is the place to live. Where else will you find such a rich mix of history, culture and traditions along with modernity, technology and innovation? It offers an unparalleled social and economic life.”
Bukash says Emiratis have been welcoming and respecting people from different cultures for centuries. “People of different nationalities live here peacefully. The security that Dubai offers is excellent. The climate too is a huge attraction. Barring the hot summer months, the rest of the year is very pleasant and is a huge draw for people from Europe and other parts of the world.”
Land of opportunities
Saeed Al Janahi, Director of Operations, Dubai Film & TV Corporation, says the biggest attraction of Dubai is that it is a land of opportunities. “You have a clear goal and you can achieve it here. Dubai is a land of opportunities for every youngster, regardless of his religion, nationality or colour.
"We have people over 200 nationalities living peacefully together while enjoying their freedom. I am proud to belong to this city and country because of the leaders we have. They have achieved in 50 years what other countries have taken a hundred or more years to accomplish.”
Shining star in the sky
For Mohammed Al Zaroni, Adviser, Emirates Red Crescent, “Dubai is a shining star in the sky."
The manner in which Dubai reached out to other countries during the pandemic speaks volumes about its humanitarian efforts, he says, adding: “Our heart is in every place of the world.”
According to him, “There are three things that set Dubai apart: Security, freedom and happiness of the people.”
At the end of the day, he adds, “Dubai, which is the best place in the world, is the place of my birth. That is a big thing for me.”
Not just glitz and glamour
Nayla Al Khaja, film producer, says, “Dubai has come a very long way from the 60s when it was almost a desert. What I love about Dubai is the tolerance between people of so many nationalities. Dubai is also ambitious and it keeps pushing the envelope. The desire to be the best in everything is very genuine. People here are very entrepreneurial in nature with lots of initiatives.”
She says Dubai is not just about glitz and glamour. “Few cities are as sustainable as Dubai, which leads the way. Also, anyone can come from anywhere, have a dream and make it big. Dubai gives room for everyone to dream big, and accumulate good wealth and health, amid safety and security.”