7 Surprising Dubai Facts

As a holiday destination, there are few places as remarkable as Dubai. There is a lot of information out there on the best Dubai resorts, the best restaurants to go to, the best activities to do in Dubai, but not as much about the Emirate itself. Here are seven surprising facts you might not know about Dubai.

1. The first hotel in Dubai was built in 1959

Looking at Dubai’s skyline, it is difficult to imagine that just 60 years ago there was no tourism, not even a hotel! These days when planning your trip it can be hard to choose the best Dubai resort to stay in, the variety of opulent, luxury accommodation is endless.

2. The UAE was once known as the Pirate Coast

In the 17th-century, under Ottoman rule, the UAE was named the Pirate Coast. It wasn’t renamed the Trucial States until the British took over almost 200 years later.

3. The Sheikh of Dubai won a gold medal for horse racing

In 2012 H.H. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum won individual and team gold at the World Endurance Championships. As well as being passionate about horses and a successful sportsman, the Sheikh is very passionate about Dubai and is responsible for its huge growth and development while he has been in charge. Unlike the British Monarchy, the royal family are also involved in the politics and day-to-day running of the country. The Sheikh is also the UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

4. The UAE has a Minister of Happiness

Appointed for the first time in 2016, the Minister for Happiness opened a Customer Happiness Centre, developed a Customer Happiness Formula, and enlisted the help of universities in the UK and the USA to train 60 Happiness and Positivity Officers. The 60 participants, selected from different government departments were taught skills such as leading a happy team, mindfulness and measuring happiness. This is all part of the UAE’s goal to become one of the happiest countries in the world.

5. Dubai is only 47 years old

Despite being a trading hub between the East and the West for over well over 1,000 years; Dubai is actually only 47 years old in its current form. Established in 1971 as part of the UAE.

6. There are less than 15% Emiratis in the Emirates

Of the almost 10 million people living in the United Aran Emirates, 85% of them are ex-pats.

7. Ramadan is not only about fasting but giving to charity too

For one month each year, during Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. As well as the fasting and reflecting on their faith, they also focus on family and charitable giving.

8. Less than 5% of Dubai’s revenue comes from oil

People think of the Middle East as being abundant with natural resources such as oil and gas, but only 5% of Dubai’s revenue comes from oil. Historically Dubai has survived on fishing, exporting pearls, and its trade ports. It wasn’t until 1966 that oil was found just off the coast. Neighbouring emirate Abu Dhabi, however, is a different story.

By Sarah Tayler

Sarah is an avid traveller. When not writing for My Dubai, she can be found gallivanting around the globe. Sarah has a soft spot for Barcelona because she’s a sucker for Gaudi and tapas! She’s also a big fan of leisurely river cruising and loves nothing more than stopping off along the banks of the Loire Valley for a spot of wine tasting, visiting Bordeaux for the history and amazing French food.