Dubai, A City of Contrasts?

Posted on: 8th November 2017

Recently two headlines have appeared in British media that seem to present completely contrasting views of Dubai - “Dream Job Sends Employees to Dubai and Pays £200,000 with No Qualifications Needed” and “What Not to Do in Dubai as a Tourist”. 

These headlines follow on the heels of at least a dozen stories over the past few months that depict Dubai as a perilous destination where unwary visitors may end up spending time in jail.

Those of us who have spent any time in the city have of course become a little immune to the phenomenon of ‘Dubai dissing’ which started in earnest just after the economic collapse in 2008 when reports of ‘1000s of abandoned cars left at Dubai Airport’ grabbed the headlines for several weeks.

Let’s examine the first headline in a little more detail.

The so-called ‘dream job’ involves joining a well-known British Dubai-based real estate company as an agent selling properties in the UAE for a tax-free salary of up to £200,000 per annum.  The successful applicants will be sent straight to Dubai to begin their new position and will receive help with finding accommodation. Going on, the article makes it clear that “no professional qualifications are necessary and that they are simply looking for enthusiastic people with the ability to sell.”




I have spent a great deal of time explaining in some detail the key requirements of my profession as a real estate agent in Dubai – detailed knowledge of the city and its recent history, mature interpersonal skills that meet the needs of a diverse range of clients, solid personal attributes such as trustworthiness and integrity, and real clarity and knowledge about Dubai real estate developers and projects.

Reading in between that headline, it appears to highlight a fast-track pathway to easy riches with almost little or no training – it seems just too good to be true, right?

As I have mentioned many times, you need to come to Dubai, spend some time here, and meet professionals who have the knowledge, history, and personal skills to professionally assist interested buyers.

It is just impossible to replicate all of the above in a newly-arrived fresh-faced salesperson – and expect the highest levels of service and product knowledge.


On to the second headline – should I be concerned about visiting Dubai?

Of course not. 

Dubai is a remarkable city which is consistently offering wonderful hospitality to millions of visitors each year.  A traditional Arab society, Dubai displays a level of cultural and religious tolerance and acceptance of diverse nationalities that few other countries in the world can claim.

Visitors who live within reasonable and acceptable behavioural boundaries in their own countries will find that Dubai offers them a broad spectrum of experiences that may surprise many. For example, the internationally-acclaimed Dubai Rugby Sevens takes place in a few weeks’ time over one of the country’s most important national commemorations – the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. During this time, visitors at the 7s venue can drink freely while watching three days of international rugby.

On the hotel and public beaches, a wide range of swimming costumes from burquinis to bikinis may be observed. In the streets and the malls, visitors may wear almost anything they want other than beachwear.

Dubai wants their visitors to feel relaxed as if they were at home – it is a core element of traditional Arab hospitality where much is given without expectation of reciprocity.

And Dubai also has laws that reflect their traditional and religious values.

However, in my experience, the police appear to show a great deal of wisdom and perception when dealing with visitors who intentionally or unintentionally step over a line.

It seems that as Dubai continues to raise its well-earned profile around the world, newspapers with an eye for a catchy headline lie in wait for the rare case where visitors fall foul of the law.  With almost 15 million visitors arriving in Dubai in 2016, it is indeed surprising that there are not more than a few cases that pop-up over a year.

My advice when visiting Dubai is to be respectful of its traditional values and use your common sense to readjust your behaviours accordingly. 

While Dubai’s hospitality is legendary, it has also shown that it wishes to protect the very values that make the city such an interesting, exotic, and exciting place to visit and live.