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Dubai city rankings

Wednesday 16 January 2019 (UAE)   

Dubai city rankings

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Dubai city rankings, ratings, surveys for expat residents and UAE citizens living in Dubai - lifestyle, business, tourism compared to other cities around the Middle East and rest of the world.

Report subject or title Source Date Dubai Top city #2 city #3 city Bottom Notes
Best city to live in Knight Frank 23 Oct 2013 #1 Dubai Mallorca Cayman Islands   strange report
Most romatic holiday city Gulf News 12 Jun 2013 #2 Istanbul Dubai Paris   misstravel survey
Top tourist destination 2012 MasterCard 11 Jun 2012 #8 London Paris Bangkok    
City Competitiveness Index EIU 12 Mar 2012 #40 New York London Singapore    
Best Student City worldwide QS 14 Feb 2012   Paris London Boston   DXB no rating
World Cost of Living 2012 EIU 13 Feb 2012 #94 Zurich Tokyo Geneva Karachi COL for expats


Dubai city ratings and surveys

  • 23 Oct 2013 - Dubai was ranked as the overall best city to live in according to a Knight Frank report ranking cities for High Lifestyle Living, or a Global Living Guide, or something.
    • Knight Frank is a UK based real estate consultancy with 370 offices internationally.
    • Their survey was based on factors including education, climate, top quality restaurants, leisure pursuits, but the press release was vague on details of how the survey was carried out. Oddly they seemed to equate a good climate with a high number of sunshine hours, and thought that Mallorca and the Cayman Islands were top places for children to get an education.
    • Survey seems to be relevant to wealthy individuals or families who have no need to worry about the basics - food, shelter, clothing.
    • Actual report not supplied or found, just a press release which gave the following information:
      • Auckland, NZ - 1st= for availability of leisure pursuits.
      • Cayman Islands - 2nd= overall. They have a high ranking for education? Really?
      • Dubai overall 1st with top ranking for education (what?), and high marks for climate (because of high number of sunshine hours).
      • Geneva - 1st= for something but not clear what. Or 1st overall for families, or something.
      • Hong Kong - 1st for high quality restaurants, and 1st= for something else but not clear what.
      • London - 1st for nothing but did well in some categories.
      • Mallorca - 2nd= overall. They also have a high ranking for education? Really?
      • Nassau, Bahamas - 1st for hours of sunshine.
      • New York - 1st for nothing but did well in some categories.
      • Ottawa, Canada - 1st= for availability of leisure pursuits.
      • Paris - 1st for nothing but did well in some categories.
    • The director of Frank Knight Dubai clarified everything by saying "Hence, for the entrepreneur, Auckland, New Zealand achieved the number one spot scoring highly within political stability, ease of travel, suitable climate and an array of restaurants for personal and business entertainment. Geneva was the outright winner for those with family motivations, demonstrating strengths in education, security and leisure pursuits that outranked Singapore, London and Dubai who were 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively."
    • We have the peculiar feeling after summarising this report that we just helped Frank Knight market themselves a little, which was possibly the point of the report, and it gave media publications the opportunity to publish articles with exciting sounding headlines like "Dubai the number one city in the world for lifestyle". Not clear if the press release was talking about the Knight Frank Global Wealth Report 2013 or something else - it would all make more sense if it was the GWR-2013, although we'd still wonder what criteria they use for rating cities for education.
    • Confusingly, another Frank Knight report, The Wealth Report Global Cities Survey 2013 (in March 2013) had Dubai in 29th spot, and New York and London in 1st and 2nd place respectively. Even more curious, in the Quality of Life category, the report gave the top 5 cities as Zurich, Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto, Frankfurt in that order. Now we really wish we'd read something from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) instead.
  • 12 Jun 2013 - Dubai is the second most romantic city destination (Istanbul was the first) according to a survey by ... the "travel dating" website misstravel.com (as reported in the Gulf News - a Dubai based newspaper). Time for lots of lols and hahas. The survey was based on 24,000 or 71,000 (both figures reported) trips planned for summer 2013. Well, no one will dispute that Dubai is hot in summer, but sweaty rather than romantic comes to mind when thinking of a walk along the beach in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celcius. The next three most popular cities were Paris, London, and San Francisco in that order. Further explanation might put things into perspective for those scratching their heads. The website links up financially generous travellers (usually rich older men) who want to pay expenses for an attractive travelling companion (usually pretty younger women). The website says "Generous traveling member is expected to pay all travel expenses for Attractive traveling members" and "This is not an escort site, nor will we permit any type of escorting on this site. MissTravel.com is strictly an online dating service for people who are looking for a travel partner." So it is apparently not a website where richer men are paying for younger women to travel so they can have sex with them. Which is just as well because it is illegal for unmarried couples to have sex in Dubai. And for a bit more irony, the website is blocked in Dubai (and the UAE), as it is a dating website. Making it even more curious that a UAE newspaper would publish such a story - normally they are reasonably careful about not drawing attention to stories that paint Dubai and/or the UAE in a bad light.
  • 11 Jun 2012 - Dubai was in 8th spot as a tourist destination in the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index 2012, with an estimated 8.8 million tourists and $8.8 billion of spending in 2012 (an average of $1000 spent per tourist). Top spot was London with 16.9m tourists and spending of $21.1 bn. Top ten places were London, Paris, Bangkok, Singapore, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Madrid, Dubai, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur in that order (by number of visitors, rankings were different if rated on total spending). Cities in 11th to 20th places were Seoul, Rome, New York, Shanghai, Barcelona, Milan, Amsterdam, Vienna, Beijing, Taipei. Dubai was in first place for the Middle East and Africa region - top ten destinations in order (ranked by estimated visitor numbers for 2012): Dubai, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Casablanca, Riyadh, Nairobi, Amman, Tunis.
  • 12 Mar 2012 - in an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Global City Competitiveness Index, Dubai was ranked in 40th place out of 120 cities worldwide. Top five cities (in order) were New York, London, Singapore, Paris, Hong Kong. Dubai was the top ranked city in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi was a close second in 41st place). Rankings were based on Economic Strength, Physical Capital, Financial Maturity, Institutional Effectiveness, Social and Cultural Character, Human Capital, Environment and Natural Hazards, Global Appeal.
  • 14 Feb 2012 - a survey of Best Student Cities in the World by QS (a university ranking group - unclear how much their opinions are worth) did not rank Dubai in their top 50 list (or anywhere at all apparently). Top 5 cities for university and college students were Paris, London, Boston, Melbourne, Vienna (in that order). The QS best university surveys do not have any Dubai or UAE universities included. QS website at www.topuniversities.com.
  • 13 Feb 2012 - in the annual Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) World Cost of Living Survey 2012, Dubai came in at 94th place - down (as in cheaper) 16 places from 2011. Out of 130 (or 131 or 140?) cities surveryed, the most expensive were Zurich, Tokyo, Geneva, Osaka, Oslo (in that order). Cheapest was Karachi, then Mumbai. Living costs are for an expatriate lifestyle in the cities rated.
  • 30 Nov 2011 - Dubai was in 74th spot in the Mercer Quality of Living rankings, and took the top spot amongst Middle East cities. Top 5 spots worldwide were held by (in order) Vienna, Zurich, Auckland, Munich, Dusseldorf and Vancouver (5th equal). In terms of safety, Dubai was in 39th spot.
  • 31 Mar 2011 (The National) - Dubai was rated as one of the least safe destinations to visit in an online survey or poll of about 3,000 voters by a relatively obscure online travel agency in the UK. Unknown how many had actually visited Dubai vs just read the Daily Mail, or what sort of reputation the travel agency has but the results seem likely to reflect the fear that Britons have of going to jail in Dubai for drinking, kissing, having sex, or taking drugs; rather than fear of being mugged, assaulted, robbed, etc. And given that the travel agency apparently thinks Dubai is a country rather than an emirate in the country called the UAE, is an indication that its geographical knowledge is less than one would expect from a company in the travel business. Top of the list were Spain, France, Cyprus, New Zealand, Denmark. Bottom of the list were Dubai, Jamaica, Bulgaria, South Africa, Mexico (press release 07 February 2011). Back in August 2009, the UK Foreign Office did say that travelling Brits were most likely to be arrested in the UAE (relative to total number of Brits visiting). In one of many published criticisms of the survey, Mark Beer, chairman of the British Business Group in Dubai, reportedly said "Although alcohol is available, public drunkenness, illegal drug use and violence is not tolerated. I, for one, do not have a problem with this and if that is the type of tourist that is being put off from coming to the UAE, then one wonders if that is so bad?" And yes that really is his name.
  • 16 Mar 2011 (news reports) - Dubai voted as the most popular city to live in for 2011 out of 19 cities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region according to the Best Arab City report by the Saneou Al Hadath magazine.
  • 06 Oct 2010 (press release) - Dubai is considered to be the most desirable location for a head office in the Middle East according to a CB Richard Ellis survey of senior management personnel based in the GCC, of whom 31% voted for Dubai. As it happens, CB Richard Ellis themselves have an office in ... Dubai.
  • 21 Sep 2010 - Dubai holds top spot in the Middle East as a financial center according to a Z/Yen Group Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) report, covering 75 financial centers. Some city ratings were London (1, = to 2009 position), New York (2, -1), Hong Kong (3, =), Singapore (4, =), Tokyo (5, =), ... Dubai (28, -4), Qatar (34, +2), Bahrain (42, -1), Rekjavik (75, =). Guernsey and Munich were just ahead of Dubai, Dublin and Osaka were just behind.
  • 15 Sep 2010 - Dubai is the 16th most expensive city in the world, and the only Middle East city in the top 20, according to the UBS Wealth Management Research 2010 update of its 2009 Prices and Earnings report, a city comparison of global purchasing power. If you're wondering why Abu Dhabi was apparently cheaper, it probably wasn't. But it wasn't included in the list of cities surveyed - the UBS report surveyed cost of living, salary levels and purchasing power of 122 goods and services in a total of 73 cities. Dubai comes in at 36th spot on salary levels, and 32nd spot for Domestic Purchasing Power. Report publication date 15 September 2010?
  • Aug 2010 (news reports) - Dubai is rated at number 27 in the Foreign Policy magazine list of top cities in the world for 2009. Dubai had the same ranking for 2008, and is the only Arab city in the FP top 50 list.


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Last update Tuesday 10-Jun-2014. Page development 1H 2T 3D 4L 5C.
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