Monday, July 07, 2008

Trouble brewing

Dubai hotels at record lows - where have all the visitors gone? Though nobody dares deviate from the official 'all is well' line, Dubai hotel occupancy is at record lows. Has the city been rumbled?

KippReport asks this question here.

At the same time there is growing criticism of the unfettered consumerism rampant in the Sandlands. The following is quoted from Yahoo News...

Rampant consumerism in the United Arab Emirates -- home to
Dubai, the self-styled capital of conspicuous consumption -- could damage the economy and hinder the Gulf oil producer's efforts to become self-reliant, a government report said.

Consumer spending in the second-largest Arab economy jumped 17.7 percent to 319.87 billion dirhams ($87.1 billion) in 2007, more than double its level five years earlier, the Abu Dhabi Department of Planning and Economy said in a report.

Per-capita spending in the country of 4.1 million people is about $27 a day, some eight times higher than average daily spending in the rest of the Arab world, the department said, adding that the UAE imported about 85 percent of consumer goods.

How, one wonders, is the culturally prescribed 'modesty and restraint' to be reconciled with an abaya ostentatiously decorated with diamonds and proudly priced at one million dirhams?

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