Dubai is best city brand in Middle East and Africa, report says

Emirate has gained reputation as 'city of gold' for being a major hub for gold and jewellery trade, consultancy Brand Finance says

Dubai's economy has bounced back strongly from the coronavirus-driven slowdown. Reem Mohammed / The National
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Dubai claimed the top spot in the Middle East and Africa, ranking ninth globally, in the best city brands, a Brand Finance report has shown.

The emirate received an overall score of 75.8 out of 100, Brand Finance said in its inaugural City Index report.

Due to its status as a major gold trading hub and shopping destination for jewellery, Dubai has become known as the “city of gold”.

Dubai, the tourism and commercial centre of the Middle East, also performed well across several business and investment parameters.

It ranked number one for future growth potential, second in strong and stable economy, and third, behind only New York and London, as a city of global significance, the report said.

The emirate's economy has bounced back strongly from the coronavirus-driven slowdown. The emirate’s gross domestic product has maintained strong growth momentum, driven by a robust recovery in the travel and tourism as well as retail sectors.

Motorcycle racer Sam Sunderland stands on top of the Burj Khalifa

Motorcycle racer Sam Sunderland stands on top of the Burj Khalifa

Its economy expanded by 4.6 per cent on an annual basis in the first nine months of 2022, with retail trade accounting for 24.1 per cent of its GDP, according to data from the emirate's statistics centre.

Dubai also retained its position as the world's top destination for attracting greenfield foreign direct investment projects in 2022 for the second consecutive year.

The emirate achieved 89.5 per cent year-on-year growth in FDI projects announced last year, Dubai Media Office said earlier this week, citing data from the 2022 Financial Times fDi Markets report.

The Brand Finance ranking is based on a global survey of about 15,000 people conducted across 20 countries in April to measure perceptions of the world’s top 100 cities.

Respondents were asked about the general reputation and their personal consideration of each city as a place to live, work locally, work remotely, study, retire, visit or invest in.

The UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi, ranking 28th globally, is the second-best city brand in the region.

It was also ranked second in attractive corporate taxation, third in personal taxation, fourth in ease to do business, seventh in being great for start-ups and innovation, and ninth in ease of finding employment.

The UAE, the Arab world's second-largest economy, was ranked top globally in terms of brand performance in September on the back of the government's successful response to the pandemic, Brand Finance said in a report at the time.

Other regional cities in the latest global list include Doha, Qatar (65) and Jeddah (77) and Riyadh (78) in Saudi Arabia.

“Middle Eastern cities have built very strong brands in a much shorter time than many of their European counterparts,” said Andrew Campbell, managing director of Brand Finance Middle East.

“The last few decades have seen an exponential growth of business and investment opportunities across all major cities in the region.

“Efforts to raise the profile of the tourism offering are likely to further increase the familiarity and overall standing of Middle Eastern city brands globally.”

The City Index report named London, with a score of 84.6, the best city brand in the world, followed by New York.

“London’s exceptional performance can be attributed to its global familiarity,” said David Haigh, chairman and chief executive of Brand Finance.

“Knowing a city allows the public to form positive perceptions about it … high familiarity means a deeper understanding of its qualities and a broader reach of its appeal.”

Updated: May 19, 2023, 7:46 PM