Dubai Ranks Among The World's Top 5 Cities In 2021

Dubai has entered the list of the TOP 5 best cities in the world according to the World's Best Cities Report from Resonance Consultancy. The emirate took the position due to the availability of high-quality education and medicine, a large number of world-famous tourist attractions and tourist sites, as well as a high level of foreign investment and more. The government of Dubai is also constantly working on innovative solutions and advanced technologies that will bring the standard of living of residents in the emirate to a new level. In this article, we have considered the main factors that make Dubai one of the best cities in the world for investment, work and life.

Evaluation criteria of World's Best Cities Report

Dubai took fifth position in the ranking of the World's Best Cities Report 2021 by the Resonance Consultancy company. The rating includes large cities with a population of more than a million people and were evaluated according to 6 main parameters:

  • The quality of nature and urban development: safety, attractions, weather and so on.
  • Infrastructure, including airport accessibility.
  • Human resources: immigration and diversification of the population.
  • Employment opportunities.
  • Leisure: entertainment, cultural facilities and restaurants.
  • The popularity of cities on the internet: links, reviews and recommendations in search systems and social networks.

The rating also took into account the impact of the pandemic on urban developments. London, Paris, New York and Moscow took 1st to 4th place respectively. Dubai was helped to take the 5th position by new 5-star hotels, numerous attractions, such as the Museum of the Future, as well as the status of the safest city in the world, despite the largest share of foreigners among all other cities across the globe.

Landmarks in Dubai

The emirate of Dubai is known for its world-famous attractions, which include:

  • The Dubai Mall. The most visited trade mall in the world is located in Dubai and helped the city to take 32nd place in the shopping subcategory of the rating. The Dubai Mall offers more than 200 luxury brands and many entertainment options such as Dubai Ice Rink, Kidzania, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and so on. Other best shopping places in Dubai include the Mall of Emirates, WAFI Mall, Dubai Marina Mall and Ibn Battuta Mall.
  • The Burj Khalifa. Dubai is home to the highest tower in the world. The total height of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper is 2,716 ft and has 57 elevators. The owner is Emaar Properties and the cost to build the tower was initially USD 1.5B.
  • Deep Dive Dubai. The landmark was only opened in Dubai in July 2021. The attraction has broken the Guinness Book record as the deepest diving pool in the world. Its depth constitutes 197 ft, and at the bottom, there is a "sunken city", which visitors can explore during an underwater dive.
  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. The first wax museum in the Middle East region in Dubai opened on October 14 this year. There are 7 themed halls inside, including Media, The Leaders & Royals Room, Fashion, Bollywood, Music A-List Party, Film and Sports. Visitors are invited to see the wax figures of more than 60 world superstars. The museum is located on Bluewaters Island.
  • Ain Dubai Ferris wheel. This is the largest and tallest Ferris wheel in the world, which opened only recently, on October 21, 2021. The height of the landmark is 688 ft and is located on Bluewaters Island, not far from the Madame Tussauds Museum.
  • Float Dubai is the biggest nightclub on the water on the planet. It is situated on board the retired Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship and is designed for 1,000 people. Visitors are offered an exquisite menu that includes Pan-Asian and Latin cuisine.
  • Dubai Creek Tower. The tower is situated in Dubai Creek Harbour and will become the highest tower in the world upon its completion, thereby breaking the record of the Burj Khalifa. The anticipated height of the skyscraper will constitute 3,045 ft, while the cost to build it is AED 3.6B (USD 1B). Dubai Creek Tower will include a hotel, restaurants, 10 observation decks and a covered garden. The architect of the tower is Santiago Calatrava.
  • Museum of The Future. At the moment, the landmark is under construction and the anticipated date of completion is 2022. The museum will hold exhibitions and public events as well as show films and publications. Inside the attraction, there will be elements of immersive theater and different kinds of exhibitions. The main topics within the museum will be the future of climate change and ecology, space travel and living, health, wellness and spirituality. The building will be connected to 4,000 megawatts of solar energy, which will be produced by a special station. Moreover, the Museum of The Future will be illuminated by more than 45,000 ft of Arabic calligraphy on the exterior.

The economic climate in Dubai

According to the statement from the government of Dubai, the emirate has shown record economic growth in 2021 atabout 3.1%. The main factors that influenced this are the government measures to combat the pandemic, adaptability to change and the mass vaccination rollout in the UAE. The effective strategy in the fight against COVID-19 has contributed to the opening of borders and an increase in the flow of tourists. The economic growth in 2022 is estimated at a level of 3.4%. Moreover, Emirates NBD stated that the growth of the emirate of Dubai will be at a level 4% this year, while the GDP growth of the whole UAE constitutes 1.9%.

The government of the emirate adopted several amendments and new legislation to the investment and residence laws in order to attract more local and foreign investments to the country. For example, one of the new amendments was lowering the price threshold for the purchase of real estate so buyers can obtain a 3-year resident visa. Previously, in order to obtain this type of visa, an investor had to purchase property for the minimum amount of AED 1M (USD 272K), now it is enough to invest at least AED 750K (USD 204K).
The forecast from the DED also stated that they anticipated a positive impact of the Expo 2020 exhibition on economic activities in the emirate. It is expected that the accommodation and food services sector will grow by 8.5% in 2021, compared to 2020, and the sectors of storage, transport and communications will grow by 4.1%. These indicators reflect the gradual recovery, which is expected until the end of 2021 in transport and tourism activities. According to the predication's, the wholesale and retail trade sector will regain a large part of its activity after the slowdown because of the pandemic. Their growth is expected to be at a level 4.7% in 2021.

The real estate sector is also showing good results this year. For example, the growth rate in the 1st quarter of 2021 was 2.4%, compared to the same period in 2020, contributing to 8.7% of the real GDP. The number of purchase and sale transactions in the Dubai property sector has also increased, which indicates the stability of this sphere and the ability to respond to economic changes. For the 3rd quarter of 2021, the largest number of real estate transactions were made since 2009. In the period from July to September 2021, the total number of property sales increased by 85% compared to the same period in 2020. Buying a property in Dubai is one of the best ways to invest in the emirate. The main reasons for investing in Dubai real estate are a wide selection of real estate, favorable prices, tenant benefits, a large influx of tourists and so on.

Advanced technology

Dubai is considered to be one of the smartest cities in the world, due to its initiatives that are aimed at supporting innovation, development of advanced technologies and attracting investment to the emirate. Dubai invests in initiatives and strategies such as Smart Dubai 2021, Dubai Data Strategy, Dubai Blockchain Strategy, Dubai 10X and the Dubai Pulse Platform. More than 100 intellectual initiatives have been launched in the emirate. According to Smart City Index 2021, Dubai takes 29th place, out of 118 cities.

The government of Dubai is committed to digitalizing 100% of government transactions in order to make the emirate a completely paperless city and save 1,000,000 trees. A special programme called the Dubai Paperless Strategy was launched for this purpose. As part of the initiative, the DubaiNow application was designed which includes all city services, which are divided into 12 main categories.

Another notable initiative in the emirate is the Dubai Internet of Things (IoT) strategy, whose main goal is to create the most advanced IoT ecosystem to improve people's lives. The programme covers 6 strategically important areas, including monetization, management, deployment, governance, acceleration and security. The strategy is aimed at encouraging government departments to join the smart transformation of the emirate, protect the digital wealth of Dubai and achieve the goal of the Smart Dubai Plan 2021 - to create a 100% paperless government.

One of the priorities for the Dubai government is to create a data-driven economy. To achieve this goal, advanced technologies are used in the fields of big data analytics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, autonomous transport, 5G communications, blockchain technology and 3D printing. For example, by the end of 2025, a fifth-generation 5G mobile network plans to fully cover all cities in the UAE, including Dubai. This will allow a 10-fold increase in data transfer speed compared to the 4G mobile network. In addition, the throughput will increase many times, and the message flow will also rise.

Business in Dubai

Dubai has seen a large number of new company openings since the beginning of 2021. According to the Dubai Chamber, about 16,000 new companies were opened in the first 8 months of 2021, which demonstrates an increase of 68.5% compared to 2020. The number of electronic transactions processed rose by 7% and reached 450,000 in the period from January to August of 2021. Comparatively, the number of transactions in the same period last year was about 419,000.

The Expo 2020 world exhibition and the recently announced 'Projects of the 50' initiative will only increase the growth of Dubai's economic development. 'Projects of the 50' includes a series of developmental and economic projects, which will make Dubai an ideal destination for talents and investors to both live, work and invest in. The initiative covers the following key sectors: space, advanced skills, economy, entrepreneurship, advanced technologies and digital economy.

The government of Dubai has decided to reduce duties and cancel some of the fees for the services of various structures in order to support the business sector in the emirate. A total of 88 services provided by government entities offer waivers and reductions in their fees. The sectors include Dubai Maritime City Authority, Department of Economic Development (Dubai Economy), Dubai Land Department (DLD), Dubai Municipality, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Dubai Courts and Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).


Economist Intelligence Unit's Safe Cities Index 2021 has shown that Dubai, as well as Abu Dhabi, are the two safest cities in the Middle East. Dubai also ranks 35th as the safest city globally, with a score of 64.6. In 2021, the criteria of the Index was updated with a focus on the pandemic's impact and environmental security. In addition, Dubai Competitiveness Office in Dubai Economy had published a policy brief, which stated that Dubai managed to place itself within the top 10 cities in the world in more than 100 indicators related to security and safety in several international competitiveness reports.

The Dubai government is applying a range of technologies to combat the pandemic and ensure safety of its residents and visitors, including the use of drones for street disinfection campaigns and specialized transportation for patients with a positive reaction to COVID-19. In 2021, the Drone Box platform was launched, which will help reduce the police response time to traffic accidents and crimes from 4.4 minutes to 1 minute. Drones can identify faces using a high-resolution video, which will later help detain criminals. Dubai also has a system of round-the-clock smart cameras, the number of which reaches 300,000. These measures ensure maximum safety of residents, citizens and tourists in Dubai.

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