INITIALLY, living in the Gulf meant having to catch up on current fashion and entertainment trends while returning to Europe. You know how it goes:
“Oh, you haven’t seen the Big Brother reality show yet?”
“You mean, you can’t buy this book in the Gulf?”
“You’re kidding; you really have not seen the newest James Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan?”
And worst of all: “Our house has gone up 25 per cent since last year… Oh, you can’t buy property in the Gulf, how sad!”
Well, first of all, came the satellite TV stations and now we have just as many, if not more, channels available here as in Europe. Then the super bookstores arrived with very competitive prices as compared with the major booksellers to the north or south for that matter.
Next came the opening of scores of cinema – small, medium-sized and large showing the latest Hollywood, Bollywood and other movies as soon as they released.
The more-than-100 aircraft serving the Gulf ensured their bellies were filled with fruit and vegetables, so we can now buy the most exotic of fruits all year round as well as any other food items from around the world.
Umpteen shopping malls sprang up in all the Gulf cities offering the latest fashions and brand names. Not to mention the construction of a string of superb five- and four-star hotels offering amenities and luxuries, which put most other western and eastern hotels and resorts to the back of the hospitality queue.
But it has taken a while to be able to compete with the house braggers… “I suppose, I would be a millionaire, if I sold the house,” quipped an English friend, owner of a quite ordinary three-bedroom house.
Now real estate has arrived in the Gulf in a big way. Already in Dubai, expatriates of all nationalities can now acquire houses, villas and apartments and watch the prices rise from the day they make the deposit.
One can purchase a one-bedroom apartment in a futuristic building from around Dh800,000 or a Palm Island villa from approximately Dh2.4 million, so you can now become involved in property discussions back home in a big way.
“I’m not sure, if David Beckham has bought the next plot, but I know a couple of Hollywood stars are moving in just around the corner…”
There are plenty of bragging rights to come in the future for Gulf residents…
“I may buy an apartment in he world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Dubai, when it is completed…”
“Of course, we shall be shopping in the biggest shopping mall in the world, the Mall of Emirates, where can apparently ski on the snow slopes before or after shopping…”
“Yes, we’ll take the kids along to Dubailand Theme Park, it’s about five times bigger than Monaco…”
Oh, yes, now it is our turn to brag.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.