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United Arab Emirates(UAE) is a country located on the Eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula bordering Saudi Arabia on one side and Sultanate of Oman on the other side. The country has its major coastlines strategically placed on the Arabian Gulf and others on the Oman Gulf. The country consists of seven different emirates which include Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quiwan and Ras Al Khaimah. Each emirate in UAE operates as an independent state having a different ruler and an independent constitution.
Among the seven emirates, Abu Dhabi which is the capital city of UAE is the largest emirate and it occupies more than 80 percent of the entire country. An overview of Dubai. Dubai is the second largest emirate and it serves as UAE’s commercial center. It is the most popularly emirate due to its modern and rapidly growing cosmopolitan city. History: The origin of Dubai dates back to the 6th century when it existed as a caravan station. It was then transformed into a small fishing village in the 18th century which was mainly inhabited by a group of people known as the Bani Yas tribe.
The village later became a small port mainly dominated by many trading activities such as fishing, agriculture, handcrafting and so forth. The turn of the 19th century marked the beginning of real growth for the small village and in 1971, Dubai joined hands with the other six emirates named above to form the UAE federation. In the 20th century, immigrants from Iran, Baluchistan and India settled in the region for trade and other business activities. During this period, the city started benefiting from international trade contracts and this gave it a quick start to economic growth.
The discovery of oil deposits in the 1960s led to even faster growth as it enabled the emirate to exploit its industrial abilities for greater economic benefits. The transformation of Dubai to the modern cosmopolitan city it is today is as a result of rapid growth and intensive development which has been experienced in the region for the past 20 years or so (Yasser, 2008). Area: The Dubai emirate is located on a region of about 2, 428 square miles with a population of around 1, 321, 453 people according to the most recent census. Language:
Arabic is the ancient and official language spoken in Dubai and it is widely used in both spoken and written modes of communication. Dubai boasts a wide variety of multi-cultural populations with more than 80 percent of its total population being expatriates from various regions across the globe. For this reason, other languages such as Hindu, Persian, Urdu and English are also common in the region. Currency: The local currency unit used in Dubai is dirham (Dhs) also referred to as the Arab Emirate Dirham. Notes come in denominations ranging from Dhs.
5 to Dhs. 1000 and each dirham is divided into 100 coins or fils. Economy: The last two decades have seen an incredible rate of economic growth in Dubai with more than 16. 7 percent growth in GDP per year in the past one decade or so. The high economic growth has been attributed to various economic activities which include trade, tourism, real estate and manufacturing activities. Trade has formed a very important tradition in Dubai which gave it the recognition as the ‘city of merchants’ in the Middle East region.
Due to its strategic location in the middle of Europe and the Far East, Dubai is a favorite business destination for large multinational companies as well as smaller private companies which wish to penetrate the lucrative markets in Middle East and parts of Africa. Apart from trade, the tourism industry is highly developed in Dubai and the past few years have seen it transform into one of the world’s favorite tourist destination. This development can be attributed to the increased establishment of high-end tourist attraction sites and the intense marketing campaigns at home and abroad.
Dubai is well known for the generous and hospitable nature of its residents as well as its rich cultural heritage which thelps to attract more foreign tourists to the region. Trade and tourism industries have been a major source of economic growth in Dubai for the last ten years and more growth is expected in the near future once the multi billion palm island project and other future projects are completed. Dubai Palm Island. The Dubai palm island commonly known as ‘The Palms’ refers to the three largest artificial palm islands in the world which are being built on the coast of Dubai emirate of UAE.
The three islands are named as Palm Jumeirah, Jebel Ali and Deira and they are expected to attract even more tourists to the region upon completion. Two of the palm islands (Jumeirah and Jebel Ali) are identical in terms of the palm shape which comprises of a trunk, a crown consisting of 17 fronds which are surrounded by an island in a shape of a crescent to serve as a breakwater for protecting the island from being hit by strong ocean currents and winds emanating form the Arabian gulf. The Deira palm is a bit different in that it has 41 fronds and is far much larger than the rest.
All the islands will host several hotels, residential villas, water homes, marinas, dive sites, spas, shopping malls, sport facilities, apartments among other facilities. The Palm Jumeirah. This is the smallest of the three islands located on the Jumeirah coastal area which covers an area of 5 square kilometers. Its design and construction which began in 2001 and was completed in the year 2007 has been claimed to be a clear exhibit of marine construction and a properly engineered vision since it merges extra-ordinary geography with fantastic experiences.
The completion of the palm has created around 560 hectares of land and added about 78. 6 kilometers to the original 72 kilometers coastline. The initial stages of the Palm Jumeirah construction involved the creation of an 11. 5 km break water from rock to encourage the creation of a natural reef. The transport system in the island designed by the MVA features a wide road network connecting the island to the main land via three bridges and an under water tunnel. A monorail is also under construction and this will help to connect the gateway bridge on the palm’s trunk with the Atlantis station on the palm’s crescent.
The island is a retreat center as well as a residential area which is suited for both living and leisure activities. It consists of many luxurious hotels and restaurants, well designed villas, homes, shoreline apartments, cafes, marinas and various retail business outlets. Palm Jebel Ali. This is the second largest of the three Dubai palm islands located at the Jebel Ali coastal area of the Dubai emirate. Its construction started in 2002 and is expected to be fully complete by the end of 2008.
It is expected to cover around 80 cubic meters and is more of an entertainment spot for both locals and tourists due to its variety entertainment spots in every sense. It consists of six marinas, a water park, several water homes and a sea village all built on the area between the fronds and the waterbreak. Upon completion, the island is to be encircled by the Dubai waterfront, another land reclamation which is a half times larger than the island. The palm’s major transport facilities include 300m bridges and a monorail system. Palm Deira.
This is the largest of the three palm islands a fact which makes it the largest man-made island in the world. It is built on the Deira coastal area of the Dubai emirate and unlike the other two islands, its palm shape consists of a trunk and a crown which has 41 fronds. It also has a crescent which serves as a waterbreak. The construction process of the Deira palm commenced on October 2004 and is expected to continue up to the year 2015 when it will be fully complete. The palm is expected to cover around 14 km in length and a width of about 8. 5 km.
Upon completion, the total area covered by the palm is expected to be around 80 km2. In addition, the island is expected to add a whooping 400 km of land to the shoreline. The palm comprises of residential homes, shopping malls, sports facilities, marinas and clubs. The residential property is designed to hold 8, 000 town houses built in three different styles which will include vista homes, Grand and Premier villas. The project idea. The palm project vision was first revealed by UAE’s prime minister and Dubai ruler HH Sheik Mohamed in the early 1990s (Vanstone, 2004).
This idea was conceived as natural progression effort to maintain the high standards of tourism in Dubai and it was also part of a process for coming up with a solution to create more beach front on the emirate’s coast line. The project design is the palm shape which was chosen to symbolize the Dubai heritage where the palm is known as the ‘bride of the Orchard’ and water which has for long been believed to be a source of food, shelter and provide means of trade. The palm shape provided the best geometry meant to create the much needed additional beach front on the emirate’s coastline.
Therefore, it can be said that, the main idea behind this multi billion land was to improve tourism in the region and more importantly, reclaim land at the coastal areas. Project development. The project for the three palm islands took an overwhelming four years of intensive planning and extensive feasibility studies to ensure that the establishment of the islands would not negatively affect the surrounding environment. These four years involved research studies, trials, surveys and assessments to form a strong project backbone.
Surveys were mainly done by the Emirates Nortech company based in Dubai which checked the volume of water both above and below the coastal water lines. Another Dubai based company known as Sogreth Gulf came up with a three dimensional physical model for the construction of the waterbreak crescent with assistance from the WL Delft Hydraulics company. Once the research statistics were completed, models verified and designs adapted, the project was funded and the construction process commenced.
The initial stages of project development involved laying down the foundations for the islands which involved sand transfer and placement of rocks to form a firm foundation. The next stage involved building transport and communication infrastructure facilities including bridges linking the islands to the main land. The final stage of the project involves the construction of hotels, apartments, villas and other structures on the island. Materials used. The palm project has been and is still being constructed by Nakheel Properties a popular UAE property developer.
The major materials used in the project include rocks and sand mostly derived from around sixteen quarries in UAE which are used to create the land mass on which the islands are constructed. Sand is dredged from the Persian Gulf and is then sprayed onto the given construction site using dredging ships in a process known as rainbowing. Rocks are mainly used to form the foundation of the crescent water-break and this helps to create a more or less natural reef on the islands.
Other building materials are also employed in the construction of facilities present on the island such as homes, villas and so forth. This has especially led to massive import of cement into the emirate. The main advantage of the materials used in this project is that both sand and rocks are easily available from different quarries in the UAE and this makes it cheaper and easier to transport the materials unlike if they had to be ferried from other regions of the middle East or elsewhere in the world.
Moreover, the major materials deployed in the project which are sand and rocks are natural hence giving the islands a natural touch although they are man made. Importance of tourism. The tourism industry in Dubai has experienced some rapid growth in the past few years a fact which has been attributed to its numerous entertainment and shopping facilities, favorable weather conditions, its strategic location which makes it easily accessible from any region in the world and its rich cultural heritage which make it a famous cosmopolitan city.
Reports by the Dubai Development and Investment Authority indicate that the tourism industry is the highest and fastest growing sector in Dubai’s economy. This industry is very important to the emirate’s economy as it helps to maintain a steady flow of dollars and other foreign currency which increases the amount of revenue collected in the emirate. The palm island project is aimed at increasing the amount of revenue earned by the tourism industry and it will also help to maintain and improve the global perception of Dubai as the best holiday destination of choice.
The islands which are the largest in the world will not only improve tourism in Dubai but also in the UAE and the Middle East region as a whole. The effects of the Palm Island on the Economy. The Dubai government has invested billions of dollars into the palm island project but economists foresee that the returns which will be garnered ones the project is completed will be far much higher than what has been invested. The islands are believed to provide a stable source of revenue for the emirate now and in future (Yasser, 2008).
The tourism industry has had a very big impact on the economy of Dubai and in fact, research findings have shown that the amount of revenue collected from the tourism industry has in the past few years expended that collected from the oil exports. The palm project is expected to attract more tourists from both the domestic and the international fronts thus enhancing the amount of foreign income collected into the tax-free Dubai economy. The project has completely diversified Dubai’s business opportunities and reduced over dependence of emirate’s economy on oil exports.
This is very important especially now considering the fact that oil resources in the region are faced by a threat of depletion in the near future (Rogers, 2003). In addition, the palm project comes with several benefits for the real estate industry through the sale of the residential properties located in the island and the emirate is expecting some massive revenue from the sale of the island properties to settlers and vacationers from both the local and international markets. So far, almost all the homes and residential properties on all the islands have been sold even before their completion.
Effects of the palm island project on the environment. The palm island project is nearing completion and the whole world is anticipating to receive the eighth world wonder. As it has already been mentioned above, some extensive studies and environmental surveys were carried out prior to the project commencement to ensure that it would have minimal negative effects on the surrounding environment. The developers also took time to transfer all the fish and other marine animals which lived close to the construction site to more safer grounds.
However despite all this, the project is believed to have some very adverse effects on the marine life and the environment as a whole. The islands have left a significant scar on the marine life due to changes at the sea level and this is likely to lead to adverse changes in the ecosystem. First of all, the continuous dredging, deposition and redeposition of sand used for construction of the islands has led to clouding of the gulf waters with a lot of silt which is believed to be slowly choking the marine organisms thereby killing them (Werren, 2005).
The construction process is destroying the marine habitats, covering the coral reefs and the oyster beds and damaging the sea grasses. The oyster beds and the coral reefs provide food and shelter for the marine animals and therefore, their destruction has greatly threatened those marine species which depend on oysters and sea grasses for survival. In addition, the coastal beaches have become continuously eroded due to the disruption of natural currents by the waterbreaks built on the islands.
This destruction of the coastal beaches and silt deposition has greatly affected traditional activities in the region such as commercial fishing and some recreational activities such as scuba-diving and water sports. Moreover, the site where the palm Jebel Ali is located was originally a marine reserve and the island construction led to relocation of the marine wildlife while some of them were destroyed (Riegl, 2004). Although the developers argue that they will replace the marine biodiversity upon completion, ecologists argue that such artificial structures can not effectively replace the natural habitats.
In addition, the ecologists have expressed concerns that standardization of the marine habitats and environment will lead to the extinction of the native marine species and might result in the evolution of new species which are likely to be destructive in nature. Concerning this environmental concerns, the Nakheel developers concede that burying of the coral reefs has greatly changed the marine environment but they argue that they will try to reverse the detrimental effects once the project is complete.
This will include the establishment of some artificial coral reefs to compensate for the destroyed ones. However, environmentalists are not very optimistic about this since they doubt whether the artificial reefs will serve a similar purpose as that served by the natural reefs (Purkis, 2005). On a more positive note, the construction of Palm Jumeirah has provided an artificial diving park and a snorkler’s cove which has a composition of traditional marine life.
For the diving park, the developers intend to sink several wrecks to facilitate a more enticing experience for the divers and some optimistic project backers believe that the wrecks will lead to reef expansion which help to provide shelter for fish and other marine animals thus leading to community diversification. Another positive effect of the project is based on the fact that, the island provides a totally new kind of environment which is not available elsewhere and this is likely to encourage the emergence of some new species of flowers, shrubs and trees on the islands which will survive on sea water only.
This will not only add physical beauty to the island but will also spare the fresh water resources on the islands. In general it can be said that though the project has some negative effects on the environment, its overall effects are quite beneficial to the environment in terms of adding physical beauty and development of new species of flora and fauna which will lead to increased biodiversity. References. Purkis, R. (2005). Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Arabian Gulf Coral Assemblages. Marine Ecology Progress Series 287:99-113. Riegl, B. (2004). A New reef Marine Reserve in the Southern Arabian Gulf: Jebel Ali, Dubai.
Coral Reefs 17(4): 398. Rogers, T. (2003). Conferences and Conventions: A Global Industry. Heinmann: Butterworth. Werren, G. (2005). Supplemented Vegetation Report and Fauna Habitat Assessment of Sites Associated with the proposed water supply augmentation dam for the Palm Island Community. Consultant’s report. Townsville: Gutteridge Haskens and Davey. Vanstone, A. (2004). Army Project for Palm Island [online]. Available at <<http://guide. theemiratesnetwork. com/living/dubai/the_palm_islands. php>> Accessed on 2 October, 2008. Yasser, E. (2008). The Evolving Arab City: Tradition, Modernity and Urban Development.