Sheikh Mohammed

Sheikh Mohammed shares his memories

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has shared memories of how the cabinet did not believe in his idea to turn the Emirate of Dubai into one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Sheikh Mohammed believed in the tourism potential of his native emirate even four decades ago, when it was still a long way off.

According to the Dubai ruler: “At one of the meetings of the Gulf Co-operation Council, I asked to be given the opportunity to make a proposal. At the time, I was about 30 years old, the youngest minister at the meeting. I proposed to develop the Gulf cities into top tourist destinations, and I would like to start with Dubai.”

This bold proposal caught the attention of senior ministers, but not in a positive way. “All eyes turned to me,” Sheikh Mohammed said and added: “Then there was silence, which was interrupted by the laughter of one of the senior ministers.” After that, questions sprinkled from all sides: What do Dubai and other cities have to offer tourists? The desert? The sand? Incredible heat and humidity?

Sheikh Mohammed did not argue with the ministers. “But it made me very sad. Why can’t we make better use of our wealth? Why can’t we trust our youth? And can’t we try something other than what we are familiar and used to?” the future ruler of Dubai asked himself.

Four decades later, Sheikh Mohammed’s dreams have become a reality. The ruler of Dubai was able to turn the emirate into one of the best cities in the world. The UAE ranks fourth in terms of international tourism revenue, generating AED 224bn (US$ 61bn) last year alone, ahead of countries such as France, Italy, Turkey and Germany. Only the US, Spain and the UK are so far ahead of the Emirates in this ranking.

Sheikh Mohammed, who became the ruler of Dubai in 2006, is already 74 years old. His unwavering faith in the youth has remained unchanged. He has always believed that the future of the country lies in the hands of the youth and nurturing a new generation of leaders is one of his top priorities.

Source: Khaleej Times

Follow our Telegram Chanel