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Discover The Difference Between Abu Dhabi And Dubai



abu dhabi vs dubai the differences

Abu Dhabi and Dubai may sound quite similar but they are never the same. In this article, we will explore the difference between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to help you decide which city to visit during your next trip to the UAE.

Both are Emirates in the UAE but Abu Dhabi is its capital city. Meanwhile, Dubai exists as an independent Emirate. Dubai can be regarded as a more polished and advanced region among all the Emirates found in UAE. The tourism industry in Dubai is world-class and often imitated by many other world nations including European countries. The buildings and infrastructure found in the city of Dubai are also quite appreciable.

If you are looking for a luxurious lifestyle and amenities, Dubai would become your favourite place to visit or settle in the UAE. Even though Dubai is still a religious nation, it has flexible rules and regulations when it comes to alcohol.

Such relaxation in strategies is made in order to promote tourism in the territory of Dubai. Apart from tourists, such attitudes in policies and law-making have also helped in attracting a whole bunch of expatriates to settle in the nation. This has also resulted in a higher population density in Dubai.

The economic potential of Dubai has grown so much that it does not need to solely depend on the oil reserves to maintain its stability and growth. On the other hand, oil reserves and other traditional Emirati means of income generation are still active in the territory of Abu Dhabi. Authentic Emirati culture, rituals, and traditions can be seen as more expressive here. When it comes to tourism in the region, beaches and beach resorts are the major things to showcase. 

geography, location of Abu Dhabi And Dubai

As mentioned earlier, Abu Dhabi enjoys the position of being the capital city of the Gulf country, the UAE. The geographical position of Abu Dhabi comes in the mainland area of the country. The exact location comes on an island belonging to the Persian Gulf region. This particular Emirate has got a total area of around 972 square kilometres.

 geography, location of Abu Dhabi And Dubai

Mussafah Community, Bawabat Al Sharq, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, etc. form the major neighborhoods of this particular Emirate in the country of the United Arab Emirates. According to the recent census that was taken in the year 2018, Abu Dhabi has got a total population of around 14.5 Lakhs. In relation to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Dubai is a smaller Emirate, having significant wonders and visuals to witness and experience.

The location of the Emirate of Dubai again comes in the Persian Gulf region. It has got a total area of around 35 square kilometers. According to the recent census 2019, Dubai has got a population of around 33.3 Lakhs.

Even though it has got a lesser geographical area when compared to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the population in Dubai is quite denser indicating the demand for the same among the settlers and ex-pats. Out of 7 emirates in UAE, Abu Dhabi is the largest and Dubai is the second-largest Emirate found in the United Arab Emirates. 

Overview of the economy of Abu Dhabi and Dubai 

  • Comparison of the main industries and sources of income

The economy of Abu Dhabi is quite rich but the major industries and sources of income that contribute to the gross domestic product of the country are mostly the natural resources. Just like most Arabian countries, petroleum, and natural gas mining, processing, and exportation are from the vein of the economy of the emirate.

geography, location of Abu Dhabi And Dubai

But now the government of the Emirate is taking conscious and continuous efforts to promote new industries and entrepreneurship in the country other than the traditional oil industry. This would be a great help to sustain the economy of the country in the long run. Even if its sources are mostly traditional, the wealth of the Emirate has even amused the world nations. 

Comparing the wealth of all the Emirates, Dubai occupies the second position in the wealthiest emirates in the UAE. Dubai has already moved on from the wealth possible to earn from the traditional resources in its territory.

They have started working on luxury and tourism with utmost care to produce more financial power in the upcoming future. It has already become a tourist destination and a majority choice among all Middle Eastern countries. International trade is also flourishing in the Emirate of Dubai. The government is also encouraging IT and finance sectors in the Emirate. 

impact of oil on the economy of Abu Dhabi and Dubai

The foundational wealth of both the Emirates is credited to the oil industry functioning well in both territories. However, Dubai’s wealth has now become diversified and the credit cannot be given solely to the oil industry anymore.

According to recent statistics, only 1% and below of Dubai’s GDP is contributed by the oil industry. On the other hand, Abu Dhabi still credits 30% of its GDP to the contributions made by the oil and gas industries. 

cultural and social difference between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are Emirates that are purely based on the religion of Islam. There are not many big cultural differences between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, as they work according to religious norms and standards but time has brought relaxation in their policies and attitudes. Today both countries are trying to give more focus on fields like gender equality.

cultural and social differences between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

However, Abu Dhabi is more patriarchal and conservative considering the territory of Dubai. Dubai is enthusiastic about attracting more tourists and ex-pats to its territory for better fiscal growth. Abu Dhabi’s population can be seen as more native while Dubai has got a cosmopolitan populace inside it. 

the tourism industry Difference Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

If you are considering beach tourism and related activities, Abu Dhabi would be a better choice on account of its geographical location.

the tourism industry in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

The island location of Abu Dhabi has blessed it with a lot of natural resources that are appropriate to develop a lot of tourist activities in and around. Cruises and boating can be found in plenty in the location of Dubai.

But when it comes to the Emirate of Dubai, luxury is the fundamental feature of tourism that you can experience and indulge in. Shopping and theatre experiences in the territory of Dubai are more sophisticated and advanced in every possible aspect.

Moreover, it is always open to entertainment and alcohol attracting people from different beliefs and sects to visit the Emirate. 

Infrastructure and Development Difference between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Even though the wealth side of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is much more developed when compared to the territory of Dubai, its infrastructure and development take the back seat. Since Dubai is investing its wealth more productively in the tourism industry so progressive growth in its infrastructure and development can also be seen.

The nightlife, entertainment activities, luxury hotels, and so on that are expressive in the territory of Dubai make it a point to develop their infrastructure without fail. However, you can also feel comfort and convenience in the territory of Abu Dhabi too.

It is more of a tranquil location where you can enjoy the traditional aesthetics and features of the United Arab Emirates. To put it in a nutshell, Dubai is a more happening Emirate with better infrastructure and development but Abu Dhabi cannot be placed way beyond Dubai in the same. 

governmental and political systems in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates is ruled by the president of the UAE. Meanwhile, Dubai is ruled by the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE.

The governmental system of Abu Dhabi is stated as a ‘federal, presidential, absolute monarchy’. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the ruler of the government of Dubai.

governmental and political systems in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Free speech and free expression are not formally included in the fundamental rights of both the Emirates. Another important thing to be noted in the administrative structure of these Emirates is that they do not levy the liability of income tax upon their citizens. Dubai’s policies in finance can be regarded as a ‘centrally-planned free-market capitalism’

Finally, you have got all the major differences between Abu Dhabi and Dubai from this article. Both are two different entities but share the identity of being in the same country, the UAE. Their policies in administration, tourism, economy, social norms, rules, etc. have got similarities as well as differences. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the minimum age limit to consume alcohol in Dubai?

21 years is the minimum age limit to consume alcohol in Dubai. Serving alcohol to people below the age limit is a punishable offense in the country.

2. Do women have the access to drive in the territory of Dubai?

Yes, women can drive on the roads of Dubai. Women have been having a legal permit to drive in Dubai for the past 50 years.

3. What is the most spoken language in the territory of Dubai?

Arabic is the mostly spoken language in Dubai. However, English is also spoken in the territory as a result of the cosmopolitan culture of the place. 

4. What was the name by which Abu Dhabi was known during the earlier days?

Milh was the former name of Abu Dhabi. ‘Milh’ when translated to English means ‘Salt’. 

5. What are the three main cities that can be seen in the territory of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi? 

Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain and Al Dhafra are the three major cities found in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Al Dhafra is often mentioned by adding the phrase ‘the western region to it.

Content writer with good vocabulary and experience in writing news articles, and product reviews for healthcare supplements. Decent and qualitative articles are published in various well-known portals.

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