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26 August, 2005

We're all going on a summer holiday

...but not to Dubai, in the case of many British holidaymakers:

"Dozens of UK holidaymakers are understood to have cancelled their trips to Dubai after a documentary showing construction work at Jumeirah Beach Residence.

"The programme, Package Holidays Uncovered, was screened on British channel ITV earlier this month. The reporter visited the Hilton Jumeirah and highlighted heavy construction work immediately opposite the hotel."

The only surprising thing about this story is that it took a documentary to alert people. Surely word-of-mouth from friends and family would have been quicker? When glossy brochure promises of either "ocean" or "desert" views turn out to be dredging or dust?

"But a source at a major hotel slammed the state of the area. "The biggest problem is the litter," said the source, who asked not to be named. "There’s styrofoam and plastic everywhere, and the road is turning into a dirt track.

""It doesn’t exactly set a good first impression to visitors." The hotels say they have been able to fill most of the rooms with other customers. Mohammad Abdul Mannan at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said the problems were regrettable but necessary as Dubai grows."

It has always been a concern that Dubai risked getting the Costa Del Hell reputation that dogged Spain in the 1980s, of half-built hotels, endless building sites and general construction disorder. But the bigger concern is how is it going to shake this reputation off, with major tourism projects under construction for the next decade or more?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you were a decision maker, what would you do ? (Dubai policy maker i.e.)

26 August, 2005 16:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, if I was to make any decision in this regard.....
I would go anywhere but Dubai, thanks, but no thanks, I can think of dozens of places where you will get more character, identity, personality and finally real locals.

Good that projects will be going on for the next decade, but that is not the lyfestyle we came here for and certainly not the one I'd like to be in, paying out of your nose for every possible penny that goes into the pocket of the same individuals, maybe Sheikh Rashid planned for this, but not shure whether he planned for the greed that prevails today!

26 August, 2005 17:00  
Blogger secretdubai said...

If you were a decision maker, what would you do ?

Use honesty to my advantage. Working with the hotels, offer subsidised holidays. Bearing in mind that most of the package tours are dirt cheap anyway, you wouldn't have to reduce them more, just claim that that's the reason they were reduced.

Put info brochures in hotel rooms. "Surprised by the construction? Just wait until you see Dubailand! Come back in three years' time with this coupon, and get free entry to DinoPark"

Etc. Virtually zero cost for a lot of goodwill and advance marketing/publicity.

26 August, 2005 18:34  
Blogger BrainSyke said...

I think Dubai has nothing to worry about. All will be worthwhile a few years from now. Everything forgotten!

26 August, 2005 18:55  
Blogger samuraisam said...

this sort of thing was bound to have happened sooner or later, at first it was fun having so many buildings pop out of nowhere, but some areas in dubai (mina seyahi) are plagued by over development and just look plain ugly.

26 August, 2005 19:46  
Blogger Duffy said...

If you're talking about dust as a major problem, Dubai has an easy answer at hand. It is often the practice here (US) to use firehoses to spray the dirt/debris (not full blast mind you) to keep the dust down. This prevents nearby businesses and pedestrians from being overwhelmed by dust and dirt. Given the proximity to the sea, why not pump some seawater for spraying? Additionally, how about some street sweepers to get rid of the trash and exess dirt/sand/dust?

26 August, 2005 20:12  
Blogger Once the Conman said...

I am sure some must have been tipped off by "friends and family", but everyone coming to Dubai doesn't neccesarily have to have friends there do they. I am sure not.
So yeah sure... what's wrong if a documentary helped?!
You don't HAVE TO blog everyday you know!

26 August, 2005 21:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check this out. Palm before a storm?
20 Aug 2005
In an attempt to launch itself as the new Caribbean, Dubai is boldly building an artificial, palm-shaped island, and the British have flocked to buy. But, are there too many homes for too small a space, asks Catherine Moye.

Aerial images passed to The Daily Telegraph showing construction of the first homes on the fronds of the palms seem to render Nakheel's claim that "whatever your dreams they will be fulfilled at this graceful and tranquil destination", somewhat doubtful. These photographs and the latest computer-generated images indicate that Palm Jumeirah could resemble the rush hour tube on a Monday morning rather than Robinson Crusoe.

26 August, 2005 22:12  
Blogger samuraisam said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

26 August, 2005 22:37  
Blogger samuraisam said...

that stupid link didnt appear properly.

if they allow HTML tags the following will succeed, if not, tough luck.


26 August, 2005 22:40  
Blogger Parv said...

Growing pains. That's all it is.

Everyone can (and will) gripe about it now. But when new Dubai finally unveils, you won't be able to fight off the mass influx of handycam-toting tourists for all the tea in India.

Therefore, enjoy the insanity while you can. I completely agree with SD - a little marketing goodwill can definitely go a long way.

27 August, 2005 10:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD - got a suggetion for your next post. Gulf News Aug 27 had a story about 2 Morrocan women charged for drinking alcohol. Mind yoy they imbibed the "sinful waters"" within a licensed establishment.

Is drinking alcohol in Dubai illegal. If yes, why license the night clubs to sell alcohol. Or is it simply a case of don't get caught ?

27 August, 2005 13:06  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Alcohol is legal in Dubai, but only in licensed premises and for non-muslim adults (which is possibly over-21 here, not over-18 like the UK). It is also legal for non-Muslims to consume in the privacy of their own homes.

So if these Moroccan women were muslims, then yes, it was illegal for them.

27 August, 2005 13:51  
Blogger samuraisam said...

secretdubai better turn on verification again. look at that spam.

and mr anonymous, get story straight...

they were involved in a fight or row with some syrian man

as reported by GN here
and they all got off really lightly, 1000 dhs fine and no jail time.

It is believed that the Syrian lodged a complaint against the two Moroccans for offending him. The two women were referred to the Dubai public prosecution where they were charged with drinking alcohol and offending the victim.

27 August, 2005 16:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, could not find your email to send you this...

I've tagged you here:

Please have a look.

BTW, you are doing a great job at your blog.

Haitham Sabbah

27 August, 2005 22:16  
Blogger BaptizedLucifer said...

whats worse is the thurd grade material they are using to build all those villas :D

hmm moroccon women.. syrian dude? were they striking a deal by any chance? :D

27 August, 2005 23:00  
Blogger Your Man in Dubai said...

This isn't the first time Dubai has been exposed as a building site. There was a report in the Guardian that was quite scathing either early this year or late last year. Also I am always amused by one if the clips on 'One TV showing a building site of hundreds of cranes (one of the clips between programmes) I assume it is the airport. I just find it amusing that they think that showing Dubai to be a building site is a sign of the city being a developed one not a DEVELOPING city!

27 August, 2005 23:56  
Blogger Your Man in Dubai said...

I have put a link on my blog for the articles

28 August, 2005 01:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


so if a muslim goes to a bar for a drink he can get arrested?

28 August, 2005 18:51  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Technically speaking, yes. Bar staff are supposed to refuse service to anyone obviously muslim (eg in national dress).

28 August, 2005 22:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While in London a couple of months back heard about a family who was very happy visiting Dubai with all the construction on. "The kids were absolutely fascinated with the construction all the time. We never had to take them out of the hotel" Solution : Launch "Bob the Builder" style Tour Packages! Of course it couldn't be Bob could it? :-)

29 August, 2005 18:48  
Blogger Keef said...

Booze. Technically, bars are for the bona fide guests staying in the hotel (although not including Muslims, obviously). People who have UAE residence visas are supposed to have a liquor licence to be able to use these bars. Technically, if you are a resident quaffing in one of our fine hostelries and you cannot show your liquor licence to any officer of the law who wants to see it, you have committed an offence.

Although I've never heard of this actually happening.

29 August, 2005 21:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that sucks.

29 August, 2005 21:50  
Blogger samuraisam said...

technically, there are thousands of technical laws.
you can be arrested for literally anything.
If you keep a low profile and dont act like an idiot nothin is going to happen.

30 August, 2005 04:44  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Heard a rumor that the 3rd Palm project has been cancelled. True?

01 September, 2005 14:22  
Blogger secretdubai said...

The Deira Palm? It was postponed, but last I heard it is progressing, and has finally "joined" with the mainland.

01 September, 2005 15:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of the 700 villas handed over to buyers last week on Jumeirah Palm 600 residents refused to accept their villas. Our friends are one such family, none of the windows fitted with large gaps all around, the tiling is uneven across all floors and there were cigarette burns on all shower trays and baths.

30 October, 2005 14:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am an expat with two young children whom I used to take to the Emirates Golf Club for swimming lessons. I had taken my European-looking mother-in-law to the EGC on several occasions to see her grandchildren swimming. At no time did anyone express any objections to her presence despite the fact that she did not have a membership and did not pay a fee. The same thing was true when my own parents were visiting.

Today, Wednesday 23rd November, I took my newly hired Kenyan nanny with us. She is a very nice young lady and fluent in English. I should say one of the several reasons that I have hired her is her relaxed attitude, nice manners and well-groomed appearance.

As we entered the pool area and I was signing in, I was told by a life-guard that "maids" are allowed in and I should ask my maid to stay in the play room, a stinky little glass room which smells like urine because of all the small children playing in there and I guess nobody ever cleaning it. I have no idea how they were so sure that this woman was a "maid" and not a friend of mine.

I told the guy that I have been accompanied by other people before and no one has ever had said this was against the rules of the club. I offered to pay the normal guest fee for her if that was the issue. He rejected this idea and I informed him that I would not ask her to go to the play room because I find it to be very rude.

Since we have paid for the swimming lessons up front and it was getting late we went ahead to get my daughter ready for her lesson. Within a few minutes the manager-on-duty of the club came out, and as my nanny is sitting right next to me, started explaining to me that this is the rule because "the other guests would be bothered by my nanny's presence"!!!!

I explained to him that this is not the first time we have company and it has never been a problem. Therefore, I find this issue to be racially motivated. I asked him to talk to his higher manager which he claimed was not present at the club. Again since I do not find anything unpleasant about my nanny that would have bother the other guests, I refused to send her to the play room or the parking area as he suggested. I provided him with my name and phone number to have his manager contact me if necessary.

None of this worked. Apparently the guests were bothered so much that within a few minutes we were asked to leave the club without my 4 year old getting her favorite swimming lesson.
After this incident I thought some another strange issue which is the total absence of any Arabic names among the table of Golf champions or captains of the EGC. When I moved to Dubai I was led to believe this was one of the most tolerant places on earth because of its unique blend of different nationalities. Although in general there is a lot of tolerance in the city it seems that certain organizations have chosen to continue their outdated colonialist attitudes. I making sure to spread the news of this incident to everyone that I know in order to discourage them from supporting such reprehensible social practices. If next time anyone asks me about my nanny I will tell them she is a business associate and a friend with as much right as anyone to go where she please.

Amy G. Lane

30 November, 2005 16:14  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Yes - it is very racist. Nannies here are not seen in the same way that they are in the "west" (where they have a lot more rights, pay, respect) but as third world servants.

I am happy to hear the lady who works for you as a nanny is treated as a respected equal: sadly that is far from the norm here.

30 November, 2005 20:16  

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