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Dubai is simply bursting with shops and markets where you can buy absolutely anything. And, like Las Vegas (USA) and Singapore, Dubai has been created out of nothing. It is built on sand, with a scorching climate, no scenery, little history and not much water - and is now attracting 10 million tourists a year.

Dubai's ruling al-Maktoum family have successfully pursued a strategy to transform their tiny fishing village into the trade and tourism hub of the Middle East. Huts made from palm fronds and houses built of blocks of coral, stuck together with mud and lime, have been replaced with gleaming steel-and-glass skyscrapers of the most extraordinary design. Dubai is sort of Las Vegas meets Singapore. Like the wise guys in Vegas, the sheikhs in Dubai seem engaged in a competition to see who can produce the most extraordinary buildings.

Updated On: 15.02.09

Tagged By: Jewellery sales surge.