Is Dubai a Country?

City street in Dubai.
City street in Dubai.

Dubai is a dream destination for most people around the world for various reasons. It is one of the most developed places in the Middle East, boasting of the latest technology, transportation system, skyscrapers, and malls. Dubai is the 4th most visited city in the world and is expected to host about 20 million overnight tourists by 2020. It is considered the shopping capital of the world with over 270 shopping centers, including the famous Dubai Mall. Because of its popularity, it is not strange for people to think of Dubai as a country. However, Dubai is not a  country – it's a city in the United Arabs Emirates and the capital of Emirate of Dubai.

Understanding The United Arabs Emirates

The United Arabs Emirates (UAE) is a country in the Middle East comprising of seven emirates which are historically known as the Trucial States. The country’s capital is the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Other emirates include Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, Umma al Qaiwain, and Ras al Khaimah. Each of the emirates has its ruler and flag, and together the rulers form the Federal Supreme Council, with one of the rulers serving as the president of the UAE. The Emirate of Dubai is situated within the Arabian Desert and borders the emirates of Abu Dhabi to the north, Sharjah to the southwest, Ajman to the east, Ras al Khaimah to the south, and Oman to the northwest.

The City Of Dubai

Dubai is the largest city in the UAE and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai. It is home to about 90% of the emirate’s population. As of 2017, Dubai had a population of approximately 2.8 million people and a daytime population of about 4 million people. The city is a major global transportation hub, a global city, a major shopping center, and a center for regional trade. Dubai’s growth was accelerated by oil revenue. Today, the city’s economy relies on revenues from tourism, trade, real estate, aviation, and financial service.


Dubai is situated on the coast of Persian Gulf within the Arabian Desert. The urban area around the city is approximately 3,885 square miles. Much of the city’s landscape is characterized by sandy desert patterns. The sand is made up of crushed shell and corals. The eastern portion of the city consists of coastal plains known as sabkha. The Western Hajar Mountains run along the Dubai-Oman border. The Dubai Creek runs through the city in a northeast-southwest direction. The locality Deira is formed on the eastern part of the city with Dubai International Airport as the main feature of the locality.

Economy Of Dubai

Dubai has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with a GDP projected at over US$ 107 billion. Although the oil industry contributed to much of the growth of the city, revenue from the industry accounts for less than 5% of the total emirate’s revenue. Dubai produces about 50,000 barrels of oil per day. The non-oil foreign trade is valued at about US$ 360 billion (2014). The economy of Dubai is also supported by gold trade, tourism, and retail. Dubai is one of the most visited cities in the world, with 20 million tourists expected to visit the city in 2020.


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