If you looked on the various news headlines emerging from the Middle East, you will notice a substantial shift taking place in the manner they have been reporting about this region as a whole. From various military coups to the stories of political vendetta; from gun totting hostage takers to the unnerving interpretation of Islam; and from the so-called lack of democratization to the non existent human rights, the Middle East has always had to bear the brunt of hostile news reporting. But, the emerging trade and commerce and tourism activities in Dubai are fundamentally changing this long held stereotyped interpretation of the Muslim world now.
Don’t be surprised therefore, if the British footballer David Beckham and the Spice Girl Victoria are seen walking out of one of its famous five star hotels, or if the reigning formula one champion Michael Schumacher is spotted unwinding somewhere on its breathtaking shorelines. You will also come to notice some very famous names from the corporate world making regular rounds of this famous city. From top cine stars to sports celebrities and from the multi-billion empire holders to the average holiday making freaks, all are increasingly being seen on Dubai’s soil these days. This in itself, speaks a lot of how dramatically the world’s vision of the Middle East has transformed.
The next round of Dubai Tennis Championships to be held in February and March 2007 will be another treat for the tennis lovers and the media managers both. Names like the William sisters – Serena and Venus and Andre Agassi have played on this venue and enthralled the audiences in the recent past. Equally reported have had been the events like a friendly match organized between Andre Agassi and Roger Federer on the helipad of Burj Al Arab hotel. Tennis balls kept falling down inside the Arabian sea as the two players proceeded with some of their favourite strokes. Not too behind was Tiger Woods who made use of the same helipad for his golf practice. Woods was in Dubai to take part in the Dubai Desert Classic and couldn’t resist the temptation of practicing on such a breathtaking height.
If the celebrity spotting has become one of the new trends in Dubai’s social life, then so is the emerging competition among the hotel owners for making the best out of this pulsating market. They are making all efforts, like building of more niche hotels, to cap this upscale clientele. This means exclusively targeting the business travellers and the multimillionaires from across the globe. Apart from Dubai, Lebanon and Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt have also been trying to raise their stakes. However, the former is well ahead in the race involving these three.
Dubai’s desire of opening its borers to the outside world has been well received and reciprocated by the latter. As a result we are witnessing the very fundamental image of the Middle East taking a new turn in the global environment. By allowing so many expatriates on its soil, Dubai has made its friendly intentions clear. Expatriates will continue on playing a crucial role in the local economy, hence making the exchange of the Arabian peninsula with the outside world stronger. It speaks of a pleasing scenario, which will continue to get on more shades with each passing day.