Unlike it's fellow emirates, Dubai does not rely on oil for it's income: oil revenues total just 6% of gross national product. Dubai has built on it's importance as a port and trade centre and has succeeded in attracting western business. It has a thriving banking and financial centre in the port area. The city of Dubai benefited from a free trade in gold until the 1990s.
Today, Dubai has carved a niche for itself as a luxury tourist destination and continuing development of ever more impressive and luxurious resorts and accommodation is likely to make this an ongoing trend. High tech and media companies have been attracted by industry-specific free zones in the city, which now play host to international giants such as IBM, Reuters, Oracle Corporation, CNN and Microsoft.
Dubai has a booming real-estate market, backed by the government's strategy of diversification into the tourist and service industries. Vast projects, such as the Palm Jumeirah and The World developments, created entirely on man-made islands, are recognisable worldwide. Building is not limited only to expanding outwards; Dubai has some of the world's tallest sky-scrapers, including the world's tallest hotel, the Burj Al-Arab. Scheduled for completion in 2008, the new Burj Dubai will be the tallest building in the world. Work is underway on a new business district, which will include 500 sky-scrapers. It is estimated that 50% of the world's supply of cranes are at work somewhere in Dubai.
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