Dubai International Secures Spot as World’s Busiest Airport

Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates announced Monday that the facility served over 78 million passengers in 2015, securing its spot as the world’s busiest airport for international passengers.
According to GulfNews.com, Dubai International Airport saw a total of 78,014,838 passengers pass through the facility last year, a 10.7 percent increase over the 2014 numbers. The No. 2 airport for international passengers—London’s Heathrow—only totaled 69.8 million customers in 2015.
I just checked out the ONE pic over in the Paulick Report and, to my 50 years of inexperienced eye, he looks race ready: fit and alert, maybe a touch dehydrated and flight weary, understandably…tho the rest of us always look like a million bucks after an all day/night flight, ‘specially when we are so fit we can’t stand still, and are used to working off a given amount of energy on a routine basis per 24 hour span ; )..The pic also looks to have been taken by a cellphone (and possilbly the pic-taker was sitting down, down hill or very short…), typical cell pic distortion.

One of the main reasons for the increase in numbers at Dubai’s airport was the success in the Indian market. Last year, 10,391,376 passengers traveled to and from India, up 17 percent from 2014. The United Kingdom was also a market that thrived in 2015, with 5,682,307 passengers traveling between the countries, a six percent increase.
In 2015, Dubai International Airport exceeded seven million passengers served in a single month on two separate occasions, which helped the average monthly passenger traffic numbers hit a record high of 6.5 million. The airport also saw an increase in cargo traffic in 2015, with the facility handling 2,506,092 metric tons of air freight last year, a 3.4 percent increase from 2014.
Another reason for the increased success was a series of new international routes to Toronto, Canada; Cologne, Germany; and Wuhan, China. “He went really good this morning,” said Art Sherman, who will remain in California to continue training his local stock for the time being. “It’s going to be a long trip—almost 24 hours—so he’s getting a lot of electrolytes, and he’ll be traveling with a vet, Chuck Jenkins.”

While in Dubai, the 5-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit owned by Perry Martin and Taylor Made will have one local prep race before trying the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) for the second straight year. In last year’s World Cup, he came in second behind Prince Bishop. This year’s event is slated for March 26 at Meydan.

ANGST: Prince Bishop Denies U.S. Runners in Dubai

In his 5-year-old debut—and first race since last year’s World Cup—California Chrome took the San Pasqual Stakes (gr. II) with relative ease Jan. 9 at Santa Anita Park.

Diary of a Ugandan Tourist in Dubai

I have always dreamt of going to Dubai, largely because of how much I had read about those Emiratis’ success story.

The prospect of seeing this architectural marvel of the world put visiting Dubai at the top of my bucket list. When Emirates Airline recently offered to show me the Dubai sights and sounds for a week, I was too excited.

That I was flying business class on the airline famed for its inflight amenities (its inflight entertainment, ICE, has been voted the best for 12 years in a row) did not help my excitement one bit.

And that is how I found myself last week in this one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, where Abu Dhabi is the capital city and Dubai the most populous – and possibly popular – city.

Visiting in January came with bonuses of great weather – the emirates are in their winter season; so, temperatures average at 21 degrees – and the Dubai shopping festival.

Well, save for the sometimes strong breeze, the weather felt like Kampala on a normal day. But then I remembered that September day last year when I transited through the Dubai airport at 10pm and the temperature outside was 37 degrees Celsius!

Yes, this was indeed winter. Anwar, a city guide, confirmed that on an ordinary day, the temperatures in the city can be anywhere between 46 and 56 degrees Celsius, and up to 38 degrees at night.

I notoriously develop insomnia during travel, be it to my hometown Masaka, or to the moon. But on this business class Emirates flight, I owed it to myself and clan to recline my seat all the way into that famed bed, and even flip onto my stomach like I sleep at home, just for… just.

After five and a half hours, we landed in Dubai and proceeded to Le Meridien hotel just across from the airport; so close that my view out the window was of a plane taking off every five minutes.

DAY ONE

The hotel room; ah! Anyway, after heavy breakfast from one of the hotel’s 18 restaurants, we leave for Emirates Flight Catering. The Kenyan operations manager Glory Kinyua and her colleague Jane Zdrojewski meet us and for the next couple of hours walk us through the company that provides food for flights through Dubai and is considered the largest volume caterer in the world.

With 277 high loaders and 16 more on the way, this unit handles 150,000 meals a day on average, and has loaded more than 321 million meals on flights since 2007 alone, employing at least 10,000 people.

With my feet aching from walking up and down for hours, one would expect me to go back to my five-star hotel. Wrong. We ask the driver to drop us off in the Deira section of Dubai, where we raid shops for budget shopping and speak Luganda with the random Ugandans we bump into here. We are back in time for a late lunch at the hotel and I will remember the taste of those spicy king prawns for a while. In the evening we set out for a boat cruise on the Dubai creek, a natural waterway being considered by Unesco as a world heritage site.

It is a great way to see the city as guests tuck into a three-course meal consisting of prawns for starters, duck for the main meal and a chocolatey dessert. I step off the Bateaux Dubai feeling contented and… fat.

DAY TWO

We set out for a city tour with Anwar at 10am. This Moroccan who has lived in Dubai for 17 years is part of a staggering 80 per cent expatriates that keep the Dubai economy afloat.

In fact, the only time I see the native Emiratis is in the fancy restaurants in the evenings when they come out in their sparkling white dishdashas (tunics) for men and black abayas for women. That, and their expensive guzzlers.

So much so that Anwar tells us the ‘normal’ cars are on the streets during the day when most Emiratis are enjoying siestas at home, and in the evening the distinctive sound and sight of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bentleys, among others, take over.

Otherwise, the shops, hotels, and offices are teeming with foreigners: Indians, Chinese and Africans, as well as Americans and Europeans. I ask Anwar what the local Emiratis do.

“In this country there is zero per cent unemployment. The locals are rich enough they don’t work. They own what you see; only five per cent of them [hold regular jobs],” he says.

As we drive towards Palm Jumeira, the man-made luxury island in the shape of a palm tree, Anwar says Dubai has a population of 1.8 million, comprising 180 nationalities mostly speaking English.

He points out that the Emir of Dubai, also vice president/prime minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is much revered because the monarchy has built the locals free houses, given them free education – even abroad – as well as free hospitals, not to mention a tax-free economy.

He says since the country started exporting oil and gas in 1966, it has experienced rapid growth and it is the emirs’ policy to share proceeds with all Emiratis. Oh, glorious day when that happens in Africa!

According to Anwar, Abu Dhabi is the richest of the seven emirates, thanks to its estimated 200-years’ worth of oil reserves. Dubai, on the other hand, has just a few reserves remaining and its oil is expected to run out in a few years.

But the emirate’s GDP depends only 7.1 per cent on oil; the main sources of income for Dubai are now tourism, trade and industry. Soon, after us oohing and aahing at the architecture that makes Dubai unique, we drive on to the trunk of Palm Jumeira; the trunk is a lengthy multiple-lane highway lined with luxury apartments. Its 16 fronds branch off to several villas owned by the rich and famous of the world.

On a crescent ahead, the famous Atlantis hotel looms, with its water games and aquariums. It is only accessible by the driverless metro or through an underwater tunnel; so, we settle for Anwar’s tales, before driving back towards Deira.

Dubai, now preparing to host the Expo in 2020, is also constructing other ambitious projects that challenge nature in the form of Palm Deira, The World (both of which, like Palm Jumeira, involve pumping desert sand into the sea to create dry land) as well as the Hydropolis hotel, an underwater paradise where, like Anwar cheekily notes, one is advised not to open their windows.

The Al Sufouh street we drive along is lined with magnificent palace after magnificent palace belonging to Al Maktoum family members. It is unbelievable that we all stay in the same world!

The world’s most photographed hotel and most recognizable city landmark, the seven-star Burj Al Arab, looms ahead as we head for the 14km Dubai Creek, past the coral-built, 200-year-old Dubai museum.

Using a water taxi, we cross to the spice market and gold souk, where the world’s largest gold ring (certified by the Guiness Book of World Records) stands on display at Kanz Jewellers.

The Najmat Taiba estimated to cost $3m is a 21-carat ring weighing 64kg with at least five kilos of precious stones. I am overwhelmed by the volume of gold in this market; door-to-door, gold, which is important to the Arabic culture, is on display it threatens to blind you. In the evening, we join Emirates Airline corporate communications manager, Andre Martin at the Palace hotel.

This is where the Thiptara restaurant is housed in downtown Dubai, and the prime location of our table ensures we not only have great food but also front-row seats for the fountains show on the Burj lake that leaves me speechless.

Every 30 minutes, the fountains go off as if in dance to synchronised music that echoes from the surrounding buildings. In the background, the world’s tallest building, the colourful Burj Khalifa, and the world’s biggest mall, the Dubai mall, provide the perfect backdrop.

‘Dancing’ first to Enrique lglesias’ Hero and winding up spectacularly with Michael Jackson’s Thriller as hundreds of tourists at the lakeside cheer, this is a highlight of my trip.

As we leave the hotel, a traffic jam has formed outside, with arriving guests. From the impressive latest-model Bentleys, Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Range Rovers and Mercedes Benzes on display, it is clear, the locals have come out to play. Sigh!

YGT’S GUIDE TO THE 2016 DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC

This week the cream of the crop on the European Tour head to Dubai for the annual Dubai Desert Classic. Dubbed ‘the Major of the Middle East’ the tournament has been played on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club since 1989, and year after year has grown in stature, with big name players competing for a pot of gold now amounting to a massive $2,650,000! Just who will win this year though? Let’s take a closer look at the event…

THE COURSE: MAJLIS COURSE AT THE EMIRATES GC
The Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club boasts an astonishing history in itself. Setting the benchmark for golf in Dubai, the course was the 1st 18 hole grass course in the UAE, a milestone that resulted in its nickname – “The Desert Miracle”. Ranked 2nd in the UAE, the course has been at the forefront of golf in Dubai and has since paved the way for golf in the middle east too. At 7,185 yards, the par 72 championship layout certainly presents a stern test and its dramatic layout overlooking Dubai’s skyscrapers is sure to inspire you to check out its neighbouring Faldo Course and the other fantastic courses in the UAE (Photo Guide Here!). Here’s what some of the pros have to say about it.

DEFENDING CHAMPION: RORY MCILROY
The Dubai Desert Classic is a tournament which defending champion Rory McIlroy will certainly have fond memories of, with the event being the site of the Northern Irishman’s first professional win in 2009 and kick-starting a career which, to this date, has produced an astonishing 18 more professional titles. It would certainly be fitting if McIlroy was able to reach the 20 mark in a city which he has previously referred to as his “second home”. And you’d be brave to bet against it too… Since 2009, McIlroy’s record in the desert has continued on an equally impressive vein with four runner up finishes to go along with his 4 wins in Dubai. Can anyone beat McIlroy this week?
PREVIOUS CHAMPIONS: AN ILLUSTRIOUS LIST
One thing that we do know for sure, is that whoever is crowned champion this week will enjoy their place amongst some of golf’s greatest names. The illustrious list includes the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods… No pressure then…

IN THE FIELD: WHO TO WATCH IN DUBAI THIS WEEK
Current champion Rory McIlroy, hot from a 3rd place finish at the neighbouring Abu Dhabi Golf Championships two weeks ago, will be hoping to go two better and become only the 2nd player to win the tournament back to back following Stephen Gallachers success in 2013/2014. In his way stands some of the biggest stars in European Golf with the likes of Kaymer, Westwood, red hot Andy Sullivan (3 wins last year), rising star Matthew Fitzpatrick and the worlds best amateur Bryson DeChambeau all looking to win the trophy for the first time. However, perhaps McIlroy’s biggest threat comes in World No 6 Henrik Stenson, who’ll be looking to build on his success in 2007. Also eyeing up the trophy is Ernie Els, a man knows the competition no better, with a record of three wins in 1994, 2002 and 2005. With an illustrious list of competitors year after year, it is no wonder the Dubai Desert Classic continues to be one of the best events on the European Tour calendar!

FACTS & FIGURES: SNIPPETS FROM YEARS GONE BY…
Multiple Winners: Ernie Els (1994, 2002, 2005), Tiger Woods (2006, 2008), Stephen Gallacher (2013, 2014), Rory McIlroy (2009, 2015)
Lowest 18 Hole Score: 61 (-11): Ernie Els (1994)
Lowest 72 Hole Score: 266 (-22): Thomas Bjorn (2001), Steven Gallacher (2013)
Youngest Winner: Rory McIlroy: 19 years and 273 days (2009)
Oldest Winner: Mark O’Meara, 47 years and 54 days (2004)
2016 Prize Money: $2,650,000
WISH YOU WERE THERE?
I know what you’re thinking… I’d love to be in Dubai right now to see the world’s golfing elite in action… Well, maybe not this year… But with Your Golf Travels fantastic European Tour Packages you can be there in 2017! Watch the final two days of the tournament and enjoy 2 rounds of golf in the sun, all whilst staying at the luxurious JA Oceanview Suites Hotel for 5 Nights. Find out about our fantastic flight inclusive Dubai Desert Classic packages from £1649 here! See you in 2017!!!

Guide to Dubai Beaches and Beyond

Home to some of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks, Jumeirah Beach offers stunning beaches, delicious al fresco dining at The Walk, and the world’s longest Souk at Madinat Jumeirah. Hotels along the beach offer the ultimate in luxury and service too. Whether you’re a big kid, or you’ve got little ones of your own, Dubai’s water parks offer a fun-filled aquatic adventure for everyone. Check out uphill water roller coasters, never-ending river rapids or catapult yourself down slides that travel through shark filled lagoons. Man-made islands? Shaped like palm trees? It could only happen in Dubai. Visit the amazing Palm Jumeirah and go wild at Aquaventure Water Park, experience the Lost Chambers Aquarium and get your fill of shopping and food at The Avenues. This port city just south of Dubai is home to many ex-pats as well as the Jebel Ali Free Zone, providing the companies situated there with a special tax-free status. The beautiful beaches and resort hotels make this a lovely place to stay whilst on holiday in Dubai.
Fujairah
Leave behind the desert for a different kind of breathtaking scene. This Emirate is the only one lying on the Indian Ocean and provides excellent opportunities if SCUBA diving is one of your passions. Fujairah tumbles from the peaks of the Hajar Mountains into a desert of beautiful sunset colours.
Dubai Desert
The deserts that once threatened everyone but the Bedouin are now very inviting. Desert safaris via Jeep, or the more sedate but grumpy camels, allow visitors to experience the beauty and the thrill of the desert. Resorts like the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa offer luxurious services!

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk It’s over the top and not to everyone’s taste due to the heavy use of gold decoration and bedroom ceiling mirrors but it does boast a menu of seventeen different pillows and each suite has use of a butler. – See
The only seven star hotel in the world and the most expensive in Dubai is the Burj Al Arab.For a truly superior desert experience there is Bab Al Shams a hotel nestled in the sloping sand dunes forty minutes out of town and completely given over to luxury, with four pools surrounded by dunes, the award winning Satori Spa and seven restaurants on site. XVA is a charming boutique hotel (just seven rooms) in the historic Bastakiya district, which also has a Gordon Ramsay-approved cafe.

Fork Out
Dubai is a foodies’ mecca with some of the best international names and Michelin-starred chefs opening up eateries including La Petite Maison, Zuma, Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire, The Ivy and the list goes on. All the top end hotels have three or four restaurants so it’s best to do your research before heading out. For those who don’t want to break the bank there is a great selection of homegrown restaurants that reflect the multinational feel of the city. For Iranian try Iran Zamin with branches in Deira and the Marina. Ravi’s famous for its Indian and Pakistani dishes, has branches everywhere and is a favourite with taxi drivers for tasty cheap eats. Of course all the malls have food courts with reasonably priced quality food.

Drop In
Dubai has more than its fair share of swanky clubs with the super elite spending money on champagne that’s delivered with sparklers blazing and a vast number of servers. Receipts are kept as trophies and published online, the most ridiculous being $182,000 in one night. If that’s your style then your new favourite haunts might include Armani, Crystal, Cavalli and Boudoir to name a few. One of the nicer chic clubs is 360 as it’s an open deck pavilion in the water with 360 degree views of the sea and nightscape. Barasti Beach Bar calls itself an icon of the Dubai social scene, has five bars, live music every night and beach access all day. Most locals refer to it as “Bar Nasty” as it’s a favourite haunt for drunken expats… and yet somehow we always find ourselves going back again and again. (For more suggestions, plus a bit of Gangnam style, find out what happened when Urban Travel Blog set out to explore Dubai’s nightlife!).

Getting There
Dubai is a global travel hub and most carriers stop here for trips onward to South East Asia and Australasia. The local airline Emirates is excellent, flies from most destinations and has it’s own terminal – so luxury all the way. Fly Dubai is the budget airline and sometime has great deals. Otherwise to get here it’s a long walk across the dunes.

More Juice
One of the best sites for local info and reviews is Time Out Dubai with current daily and weekly listings. The Government of Dubai has useful portal answering all questions tourists may be concerned about, and you can even email in and they’ll reply with a day.

Hard Copy
The Explorer is a UAE publishing company and does the best guidebook to the city which can be purchased at the airport, every bookstore and many newsagents. It’s more in depth than the Lonely Planet and in my view easier to use. Camels Love Dubai, by Stephen Wilkins, is the story of Mohan Adikaram from Sri Lanka who loses his family in the 2004 Tsunami, and then moves to Dubai and goes to university there after being fostered by a rich local resident. Desperate in Dubai, by Ameera Al Hakawati, tells the tale of Lady Luxe and several other women living in Dubai, on the hunt for husbands, or, failing that, nocturnal diversions…

Silver Screen
Famous/credible films set or shot in Dubai are few and far between. Probably the best is City of Life, which offers an interesting look at the diverse lives that meet here in UAE, whilst Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Code 46 and Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies all feature scenes from the city. They say a TOWIE movie could be in the making

Experience & Events No trip to Dubai

Experience & Events No trip to Dubai is complete without venturing out of the perfectly manicured concrete jungle into the wild desolate desert. The more foolhardy can rent a car and head out into the sands, whilst the slightly more sensible will opt for “desert safari” from one of many local tour operators. You will be picked up at your hotel and taken into the desert for a savage dune bashing: but beware they drive like they’ve stolen their Landcruisers and some drivers even let guests have a go at the wheel, so if you suffer from motion sickness this might not be for you. After you’ve had enough of being thrown about you in a 4×4 you are taken to a fake Bedouin camp where you can wear local clothes, ride a camel, go sand boarding and have dinner while watching belly dancers and fire jugglers. Not the most authentic Arabic experience… but a real good laugh if you go with a fun group. – Dubai’s calendar is rammed full of events to keep the residents entertained – and spending money. Some of the best are the Emirates Rugby 7’s, the Dubai Film Festival, which draws both local and Hollywood stars, and the Dubai World Cup – of course the world’s richest horse race. There are too many to name so check out the Dubai calendar which has extensive listings –

Hipster’s Guide

Many visitors come to Dubai for the shopping, and one of my favourite malls is Wafi. Someone with more money than sense decided to recreate the Great Pyramid of Giza, Abu Simbel and other Egyptian monuments and turn them into a hotel and shopping complex, and – if you ignore the obvious ridiculousness -it’s actually quite impressive! Amongst the entertainment (every Dubai shopping centre provides entertainment!) are free movies under the stars at their rooftop gardens. Meanwhile Mall of the Emirates houses Ski Dubai where you can pet penguins, go zorbing in the snow or hit the slopes on five different graded runs.

Once you’re shopped out you can hit the beaches and Dubai has miles of well kept, sunny spots to enjoy. Jumeirah beach park is one of the city’s finest containing 12 hectares of landscaped kid’s areas, BBQ spots and of course a sizeable beach and the gloriously warm Arabian Gulf. Another great spot is Nasimi Beach which is at the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm Jumeriah. Most tourists just come to take their picture in front of the hotel but why not enjoy a swim and, lack of sandstorm permitting, panoramic views of the city.
Sounds crazy but most ‘tourists’ are too busy shopping and sun baking to visit the enjoyable and eye opening Dubai Museum. Housed in an old fort close to the souks it’ll give you a good idea of what Dubai was and how people lived before they were glued to mobiles, driving sports cars and sipping lattes. Just a short walk away is Bastakiya a charming labyrinth of alleyways and small shops, where you can take a great walking tour. From here go to the creek where you can see all the Abras: traditional Arabic boats still used to transport goods, there are various stops where you can hop on for a relaxing cruise across the creek.

A Dream Holiday & Capsule Wardrobe

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been asked to be one of the new Brand Ambassadors for Thomas Cook UK’s #BeachHolidayReady Campaign, aimed at getting you all looking gorgeous and ‘beach ready’ for your next holiday.

As part of the campaign in association with The Style Traveller, we’re giving away a fantastic, all-inclusive, dream holiday for 2, staying at the 5 star Paloma Pacha Resort in Ozdere. Plus this gorgeous 10 Piece holiday capsule wardrobe from Monsoon/Accessorize (as modelled by me in this shoot!), so we’ll have you looking fantastic before you jet off on your dream holiday!!!!

Keep scrolling to find out how to win
The Monsoon / Accessorize capsule wardrobe includes 10 beach holiday essentials. Keep scrolling to see all the the full shoot and how to enter!

An insider’s guide to Dubai

All that glitters is probably actual gold in glamorous Dubai, but aside from sprawling shopping malls, luxurious spa treatments and extravagant hotels, there are plenty of other things to discover on a Secret Escape to one of the world’s most luxurious cities.
Where to eat

Friday brunch in Dubai is a must and one of the best and most extravagant is still at Al Quasr, where you’ll find every food and drink under the sun spread across this luxurious hotel’s ground floor. Think lobsters, ice-sculptures holding sushi plates, a cheese room and all the Moet you can drink.

For something completely different, vodka shots, borscht and feathers, tights and tassels abound at Russian restaurant Troyka in Dubai’s Ascot Hotel. You’ll be talking about the bizarre live entertainment for weeks. Dine in a classic car in The Garage (Ramee International Hotel, Deira), or head to the Cuban inspired Malecon – one of Dubai’s best budget hotspots for live Latino music, drinking and dancing all week long (Dubai Marina Beach Resort & Spa). Where to drink

Contrary to popular belief, drinking is not only allowed, it’s practically encouraged in Dubai. The flowery-shirt wearing staff in the Madinat Jumeirah’s Trader Vic’s will keep spirits high, literally, with their Tiki Tiki cocktails, and if you have a craving for karaoke, the cosy confines of Harry Gattos in Emirates Towers won’t disappoint.

Ladies are spoilt for choice on Tuesday nights, when drinks are cheap and sometimes even free. Rock Bottom, Double Decker and Longs Bar are expat favourites but for something a little classier and less likely to make your shoes stick to the floor, ladies drink for free on Tuesdays at Amika, half price on Tuesdays at Caramel, and for free on Fridays at Margaux. Check the internet for updates before you go.

Beaches and parks

Most of the parks in Dubai are either free or extremely cheap to visit. Jumeirah Beach Park and Al Mamzar Beach Park cost just 5 AED to enter and both have great facilities. Safa Park in Jumeirah, or Creek Park along the Dubai Creek are good for a picnic or a kick around with a ball if it’s not too scorching outside.

Horse riding through the desert or even a forest is possible too, if you head to the Equestrian & Polo Club at Mushrif Park (90 mins, 300 AED). Zabeel Park has a nice boating lake to help you catch some rays in style, or get fit with the free running track and outdoor gym equipment at Al Barsha Pond Park.