What was our city like a decade ago?
Who would have thought that the quaint little-known (and still very sandy) city in which Time Out Dubai first landed in 2001 would have transformed into a bustling, record-breaking metropolis? Anyone living in and comparing Dubai in 2001 with Dubai in 2011 would first notice the incredible difference in infrastructure. Back then there were far fewer hotels, roads (Defence Roundabout was just that – a roundabout – rather than the labyrinth of roads it is today, and driving around Barsha required off-roading) and developments (Magrudy’s in Jumeirah was one of the only bookstores in town, and the now-defunct Hard Rock Café in Dubai Media City was considered ‘miles away’ from anywhere).
2001 saw many new beginnings in Dubai, including the opening of Wafi City, the luxurious Egyptian-themed mall. Foreign companies, including media-related ones, were given a haven as Tecom opened near Dubai Media City. We also saw the arrival of the Dusit Thani hotel, as well as the Taj Palace Hotel (the Dubai Metropolitan Hotel and the Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa were both old timers even then, having opened in 1979 and 1989 respectively). Celeb chef Gordon Ramsay was ahead of the curve, launching his first international restaurant, Verre, at the Hilton Dubai Creek. 2001 was also when 31 Rolls Royce cars were given away as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival raffle, creating a culture of extravagant promotions in the region.
The approximate population in Dubai in 2001, having grown by nearly 7.4 per cent from the year before as more foreign workers streamed in and the government encouraged UAE nationals to have more children. The population in 2011 is predicted to reach, if not surpass, two million.
The average price of a year’s rent on a two-bedroom apartment in Karama in 2001. Today it starts at Dhs40,000 (in 2007 it was Dhs100,000).
The average number of working mobile telephone lines in the UAE in 2001. Today it is predicted to reach more than 10 million.
The approximate price of petrol per litre in 2001. Today, it costs about Dhs1.70 per litre.
The history of Time Out
Time Out London is born. The founder is then-student Tony Elliott, who finances the first issue with £70 (Dhs397) borrowed from his aunt. The first issue is a fold-out sheet of cultural event listings. It quickly sells out.
Time Out New York launches as a weekly edition.
Time Out Istanbul and Time Out Dubai both launch as monthlies.
The magazine today
Across the world today there are a total of 33 Time Out magazines and websites, 18 visitor guides and four cities that have a website only (the latest launch being timeoutboston.com this year). As many as 100,000 people attend Time Out Live events across the globe. Several Time Out cities have their own apps. Time Out Style, a new magazine for the brand, is launched here in Dubai in 2011. Time Out Magazine wins the Professional Publishers Association Award for Best International Consumer Magazine in 2010 and again in 2011.