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Liaquat Ali Mirani
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Liaquat Ali Mirani   My Press Releases

How Sheikh Mohammed transformed Dubai

Published on 2/16/2019
For additional information  Click Here

How Sheikh Mohammed transformed Dubai.

In the 35th chapter of his latest book, Qissati, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, talks about the 'Destination Dubai' proposal he made to his father in the late 1970s. He also recalls the awe he felt when he visited the Heathrow airport for the first time, and his jubilation when 50 years later, the Dubai airport overtook Heathrow as the world's busiest.

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We inherit certain characteristics from our parents and our environment shapes us to develop a certain vision in life. My grandfather, Sheikh Saeed, believed in the policy of openness and called on all traders to make Dubai a hub. My father followed the vision of his father and pushed Dubai to higher levels - he established the Rashid and Jebel Ali ports. My father always believed that Dubai's prosperity comes from its openness to the world.

I was 10 years old when I felt that Dubai had a great potential to be a great city for traders and visitors.

When I first visited Britain, I stood bewildered at London's Heathrow airport. This was in 1959, when my father was visiting the British capital to try and persuade the then British prime minister to allow Dubai to build an airport. On that day, I dreamed of having our own airport.

Also read:

Sheikh Mohammed recalls moment when the UAE began

Why Sheikh Mohammed found talks between his father, British PM funny

I recall a conversation between my father and me in the late 1970s, when I told him we should develop our airport and market Dubai. He asked me to provide him with a plan in two days. At the end of the two days, I proposed my project: Destination Dubai. It wasn't a development plan for just the airport, but for the whole city as a destination. It was about establishing hotels, organising horse races and other events and announcing a policy of open skies to allow airlines to operate in Dubai. 

He smiled, approved it and appointed me as the official for trade, marketing and tourism affairs. He also gave me the authority to develop the Dubai airport. There, we started the journey that never stopped.

In 2014, British newspapers reported on its front pages: Dubai airport overtakes Heathrow as the world's busiest. I read the news and remembered when I stood bewildered at the Heathrow airport 50 years ago. I exclaimed: Subhan Allah .. Subhan Allah (Glory to Allah).

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