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05 April, 2004

Costa del Souq

Given that artists' impressions of future developments usually gleam with a space-age utopian swirl, to see a maxi-billboard poster featuring a depressed 1970s tower-block slum as "your home by the sea" is more than worrying. Just how ugly the concrete horrors of Jumeirah Beach Residence will eventually turn out to be is unfathomable.

With all the endless construction, it is no wonder tourists are starting to get disillusioned. This month's Time Out, the only rag fit for something better than a worst enemy's lavatory paper, has a letter from a very disappointed Pete Tilbury.

Mr Tilbury quite reasonably compares Dubai of the New Millennium to Benidorm in the early 1980s:

"Package tourists came back from their trips saying that their hotels were in the middle of building sites and that things were in a terrible mess. While Dubai is not quite in that sorry state, [isn't it?] I felt that there was very little space that didn't look like it was under development and for me at least, it was not what I wanted or expected from a quite expensive holiday."

While few doubt that when finished, Dubai will largely be shining and superb (bar the seaside Tower Hamlets), overcoming negative tourist impression generated by the Great Construction Era will be a mighty task.

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