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Tourism in Arabia received a boost in 1994 with the first Arabian Travel Market which was held in Dubai and attracted nearly 7,500 mainly trade visitors. The second of this regional travel-trade promotion took place in 1995, in Bahrain when national travel and tourism bodies participated. The Dubai Commerce and Tourism Promotion Board is responsible for projecting Dubai's tourist attractions to the international market. The emirate offers a wide variety of tourist attractions with more planned in the near future, including a Dh 100 million theme/leisure park, Wonderland, coming to Dubai.
The Creek - The city of Dubai, together with its over-the-water suburb of Deira, is situated on the shores of a deep natural inlet, known as 'the creek'. It is both functional and aesthetic, somehow retaining strong elements of its traditional charm as the large wooden dhows still tie-up along the roadside quays. White throbbed merchants supervise loading or off-loading in a trading practice that seem to have changed little, despite the inevitable march of modernity. Whilst the goods have changed, with car tyres and electrical items replacing the pearl shells, spices and other more traditional goods of times-past, there is much about this scene that reminds one of Arabia's long maritime history.
The Souks - Walk up the narrow streets of Deira's traditional markets: its spice souk offering a free gift of appetising aromas from the dozens of different spices and herbs on sale in shops that have hardly changed for over a hundred years; or its perfume souk where shop-keepers are delighted to cover your wrist in samples of their alluring fragrances; or the gold souk where every pocket and taste is catered for; or to just wend one's way through the colourful cloth souk, wherever one ventures the essence of traditional Arabia is to be found here. Taste local bread, baked in domed clay ovens as one watches; or check out the nargilehs (hookah pipes), many of which are sold as decorations. This is a place to linger as much as to shop. The fish-souk is another story, requiring an energetic early morning rise, or a late night visit, and a brisk walk among the bustling stalls, covered in every kind of local marine-life from succulent prawns to impressive large sharks.
Traditional Architecture - The characteristic structure of Dubai was its wind-towers, most of which have long since disappeared, thanks to modern air-conditioning. Some are still to be seen however, either in their renovated or newly built states, or in their more dilapidated original form. The Bastakiya district, just to the east of Al Fahidi Fort, is worth a visit for its traditional style buildings.
Palace of Sheikh Saeed - This original residence of the present ruler of Dubai's grandfather, Sheikh Saeed, has been carefully restored to its original condition. Beautifully located on the shores of Dubai Creek, and with some fine wind-towers, it is a magnificent building with excellent examples of traditional architecture.
Jumeira Mosque - It is almost impossible to drive past Jumeirah mosque without marvelling at its sheer beauty or even deciding to stop and take in its fine lines at one's leisure. This spectacular example of modern Islamic architecture is also one of the most photographed sites in Dubai. The best time to admire it is when it is lit in the early evening.
Dubai Museum - Housed in Al Fahidi Fort the recently renovated Dubai Museum provides a window into the UAE's past and tells a fascinating story that many visitors find helps them to place their other experiences of the Emirates in context. The fort was built in the 19th century and has been lovingly adapted for its present role as the Emirate's museum. Displays of traditional life from the past include vivid portrayals of pearl fishing and the every day life of a pearl merchant. Some of the archaeological finds on display are over four thousand years old.
Dubai World Trade Centre - This 39 story office and exhibition block is a prominent landmark on Dubai's skyline. In addition to housing offices of many of the world's largest corporations, it regularly hosts major trade exhibitions, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Parks and Gardens - As with Abu Dhabi and the other emirates, Dubai has an extensive network of public parks, offering picnic and barbecue sites, children's areas and a variety of entertainment facilities. The main parks are Jumeirah Beach Park (featuring a desert garden, playground, volleyball courts and barbecue areas); Dubai Creek Side Park (including amphitheatre, 18-hole mini-golf course, miniature-train and restaurants); Mushrif Park (including ''World Village'', miniature train, merry-go-round and camel or pony rides); Ras Mamzar Park (featuring sea-side chalets, paved terraces, play and barbecue areas) and Safa Park with its mini-city and artificial lake.