Dubai is a city and one of the seven emirates that form the United Arab Emirates, an Arab nation on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf. Dubai’s 2.1 million population ranks it first in that category among the UAE’s cities and emirates, though only one-sixth of that number are local Emiratis- the remainder being foreigners who have come to Dubai to work.

The UAE is a major oil-producing state, and Dubai also has its share of oil (some 60,000 barrels a day are drilled), but only two percent of its revenue derives from oil and gas. It is also estimated that Dubai’s petroleum reserves will disappear within 20 years, and they have already shrunk considerably. Dubai’s $80 billion GDP is based largely on being a hub of global freight transport, business, and “shopping tourism.” Real estate and construction have long boomed in this town and made it a city of skyscrapers- the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa) is found in its midst.

In 2013, Dubai was chosen to be the host city for Expo 2020 due in part to the excellence of its infrastructural system. Dubai nonetheless has stepped up efforts to improve its transport network further, considering that by 2020 the city is expected to soar in population from two million to three and a half.

Dubai has five main routes that connect it with the other emirates and an extensive local road system as well. The east and west sides of town are united by four bridges and one tunnel, and two main metro rail lines (Red and Blue) cut through the main business and residential sections of the city. The artificial, man-made islands just offshore known as Palm Jumeirah are now connected to the mainland by a single-lane (monorail) line, and there are plans to connect this line with the Red and Blue lines in the near future. Further, there are plans for a high-speed rail to link the UAE with other gulf states and possibly Europe.

Dubai has two main ports, Rashid and Jebel Ali, the latter being the biggest man-made harbor in the world and the seventh busiest seaport. Dubai International Airport serves both Dubai and the whole UAE and is the busiest in the world when measured by international passengers. It is also the seventh busiest airport in terms of air freight (1.9 million tons in 2009).

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