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07 October, 2005

The sleeping emirate awakens

Watch out Dubai, the dormant emirate of Umm Al Quwain is waking up like a hungry dragon with around US$12 billion worth of mega-projects in the offing. Yes, it's the usual wearisome rollcall of residential-commercial-tourism-shoppingmalls, indistinguishable from dozens of other dreary mega-projects all over the Gulf.

As noted before, UAQ is a rather subtle, mysterious little emirate. As of writing, its entire entry in Wikipedia reads:

"The emirate had 40,000 inhabitants in 1997, and has an area of 750 square kilometers. The emirate is famous for liqueur [sic] trading."

Emirates Today is certainly skeptical of Umm Al Quwain's plan to become the next what - Singapore? Hong Kong? Monaco?

"But it would be ridiculous to see a project implemented for the sole purpose of attracting huge numbers of people in a short time frame – half a million in seven years, in this case.

"There are so many questions that need to be answered first. Why would all these people relocate to Umm Al Quwain? A lovely spot, but hardly the country’s business hub."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to invite your readers to participate in a short (5 mins) survey on attitudes to smoking in the UAE. Here is a link to the survey:

Health Matters

07 October, 2005 09:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how the gulf news refers to umm al quwain (or qaiwain? or qawain? all different between logos and text) as a world-class destination ..... ummmm ....

07 October, 2005 12:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in all this property development and expansion, why dont one of these big emirates buy the smaller ones?

07 October, 2005 14:25  
Blogger One Nine Seven One said...

What a coincidence. Just last night a Local guy was telling me how Umm Al Quwain is going to become like Dubai:-) Even though he is actively designing and working on boosting this emirate he admited that it was not a good thing :-(

What a nightmare if the whole of the Gulf became like Dubai? Dubai by itself is nice (in its own bubble), but not for the whole region.

07 October, 2005 16:25  
Blogger gluphus said...

IMHO, this massive overdevelopment of the area is not always a good thing.

It seems like this emirate would lose whatever unique character that makes it Umm Al-Quiwain and it would soon become just another generic glass and concrete spread of urban sprawl.

Is surrendering ones' identity worth the ability to live 5 minutes from the GAP and starbucks? Once the genie is out of the bottle, there is no going back...

Good luck to them. I wish them well.

07 October, 2005 18:08  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

Good idea to spread the development out from Dubai a little. With more housing options rents would certainly come dowm and quality would go up.

It would be nice to see um al quwain and the other smaller emirates attract a broader spectrum of the commercial market as well so that people can work nearer to where they live. Then we can break out of the cycle of everybody living outside (in sharjah etc.) but all working in Dubai and thus having what seems like half the popupalion of the country moving in and out of Dubai every day.

As far as the gap/starbucks/whatever I just try to ignore them instead of being attracted like a moth to a flame.

So good luck to um al quwain et. al. More power to ya.

08 October, 2005 03:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember a few months after I arrived in Dubai, the missus and I took a drive oop North to see what was about. RAK was delightful but we only stopped briefly in Umm Al Quwain as it was shut for the day!

12 October, 2005 14:35  

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