United Arab Emirates is probably one of the most successful Arab countries in the Middle East in attracting tourism and foreign investment in property markets. With population of only 4.5 million (2006) but GDP of well over US$160 billion mainly due to oil and natural gas, you might think the government was complacent with its huge fortune. But the far-sighted Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has transformed Dubai as the city that every luxury property wannabes want to have their hands on.
With personal wealth of over $14 billion, he might not be as rich as Suharto *evil grin* (reportedly to amassed $35 billion) but he definitely is a visionary with his infamous palm islands project namely “The Palm Jumeirah” (and later Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira). The main purpose of this world-class project was to attract Dubai’s tourism besides locking foreign money in terms of property investment. When finished Palm Jumeirah is expected to be able accommodate about 120,000 residents. And to wonder why David Beckham was willing to pay millions for a piece of property in Palm Jumeirah as his second home instead of Malaysia’s “My Second Home Program”?
Isn’t it weird that despite great food and fruits, low cost of living (is it still?), pleasant weather (maybe Beckham was crazy for choosing Dubai), good transportation system (again Beckham probably preferred walking on desert), numerous shopping outlets and others, Malaysia’s second home program remains a failure? Anyway enjoy the development and transformation of the Palm Jumeirah below. Don’t you wish to own a piece of them?