Dubai has come a long way from a desert backwater to becoming the Manhattan of Middle East. It is the heartbeat when it comes to the economics of any industry. The demography of Dubai is an interesting aspect of this booming city. According to Colliers International, 84% of Dubai’s population is in the active workforce group (20-65 years) and 97% of the population is below the age of 50[i]. Businesses offering innovative and newer models in consumer support and services, education, safety and security have risen in the last decade. In this segment, we will be talking about the areas where this city is open for newer opportunities and quality services.
One of the first segments that come to our mind while talking about the booming opportunities in Dubai is the Travel Business. In the early 1990’s, Dubai started becoming an international quality tourist destination, a strategic decision[ii] taken by the then government has resulted in this city becoming a world class travel destination. In 2015, Dubai welcomed 14.2 million[iii] visitors and this number will continue to grow, as the city continues to add wonders to its palette.
Outbound trips have also risen over the last few years. In 2015, 3.5 million tourists travelled from UAE to different destinations, spending DH71 Billion[iv] . Dubai plays a lead role in, holding 66% share of UAE’s tourism economy, with Abu Dhabi having 16% and Sharjah 10%[v] .
All these features make travel one of the most sought after businesses to start/ set up. Dubai itself is a fusion of multicultural people, which makes travel one of the most important requirements. Thus, making travel agencies/ consultancies a very lucrative opportunity.
Safety and Security:
In Gitex 2016, project smart home was presented. The concept was to introduce people to a digital way of monitoring the safety, security and energy efficiency in homes. 9 million people reside in UAE, out of which 2.5 -3 Million people live in Dubai. 84% of the population is part of the work force; it becomes necessary to install Safety and Security solution in every home. There are some major players in this segment, but constant innovation in this sector has made room for other players as well.
Spa and Rejuvenation Centres:
It’s a known fact that Dubai is a tourism hotspot. It is home to one of the finest hotels in the world and welcomes millions of people ever year. The spending pattern of the tourists and residents in the last couple of years has been more prone towards luxury which includes spa and rejuvenation. The growth rate of wellness business is pegged at 12% Year on year. Wellness treatment in resorts have registered an increase in number of appointments, which has grown from 27% to 37% between 2014 and 2015[vi] .The surge in appointments and booming tourist community along with the local requirements makes it an interesting area for further investment and business set up.
Designer Jewellery and Accessories:
Dubai is often quoted as the “Mecca of Gold” when it comes to the jewellery making and accessories industry. Dubai is a major supplier to the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).It also has the DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities Centre) which regulates, promotes and facilitates commodities including gold. The city hosts exclusive events, shopping festivals round the year for gold and diamond jewellery. The market is quite varied in designs and competitive as well. Starting a jewellery business forms a very interesting market as over 20% of the world’s physical gold is imported and exported through the Emirate[vii] . Business owners can easily set up shops either as a jewellery maker, bead maker or jewellery merchant.
Specialty Schools/ Education provider:
UAE’s urban population is expected to reach 7.9 million by 2020[viii] .Schooling system becomes one of the most important aspects for urban families to settle in Dubai. At present 11.5% of the population is of school going age, this number is expected to increase by 2020. Dubai will need an additional 77000 student places, which translates to 51 new schools[ix] . The city is a melting pot of different cultures and will continue to host professionals and their families from across the world; hence, additional investment and specialists are required for building the education infrastructure to meet the rising demand.
The majority of the population in Dubai are working class professionals. It has 80% expat families wherein a significant number of households have both the husband and wife working. With the growing population and the need to increase interaction and response among children between the age group of 0-4 years, childcare services, which includes preschools, playschools and nanny services, has become an important requirement. An average family spends DH60K-90K for this service and has room for specialist and businesses to set up childcare facilities/services in Dubai.
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