Not too long ago they might have been lucky to get a mime – and if they were really lucky, perhaps a ventriloquist or even a juggler -- to put on shows in what was then just a little village on the Persian Gulf. Now, people are standing on line here to see superstars of the likes of Lionel Richie, Elvis Costello and the Kings of Leon.
Amazing what a gazillion bucks worth of oil will do.
The black stuff bubbled up to transform Dubai into a sprawling metropolis, today home to 2 million people. Some 1,000 high-rises -- including the world’s tallest building and 450 other skyscrapers -- now cast shadows on the surrounding sand dunes. What’s more, Dubai’s airport, served by over 120 airlines, now ranks as the world’s busiest terminal for international passengers.
People who come to this United Arab Emirate (one of seven) to work and play have their pick of a whopping 611 hotels, all told with more than 84,500 rooms. Over 11 million guests stayed in those rooms last year, according to Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
The guest count is projected to reach 20 million by 2020. To handle that growth, DTCM officials expect Dubai to add 140,000 to 160,000 more rooms to its hotel inventory over the next six years.
So it’s no wonder many of the world’s top entertainers come to Dubai. On April 17, for instance, Lionel Richie will headline a show at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Then on May 1 audiences will be treated to performances by Joss Stone and Xavier Rudd, to be followed the next day by Diana Krall and Elvis Costello. After that, Irish folk singer Mary Black is slated for May 16, with the Kings of Leon set to wow the crowds on May 28.
Among dozens of other upcoming world-class draws will be the final performances of Cavalia (a showhorse extravaganza); camel races; cricket, swimming and darts tournaments; film, fashion and tango festivals; and a global tea forum.
See Dubai’s official event calendar for more details.