Dubai:
Urbanism of Tourism
George Katodrytis

In Dubai there is little difference between holiday accommodation and housing. Architectural programs are becoming fused and undifferentiated.
The morphology of the landscape and seascape is becoming fabricated to the point that it may soon be difficult to differentiate between the natural and the constructed. Dubai’s natural beachfront is 45km long. Artificial islands will add another 1,500km of beachfront, turning the coastline and the city into an inexhaustible holiday resort. The trajectory of the development of Dubai is reflected in its population, which has grown fifteen-fold since 1969: from 60,000
then to well over 1.3 million today. It is projected that, by 2010, Dubai’s tourist trade will accommodate around 15 million tourists per annum, serviced by
more than 400 hotels.
As Briavel Holcomb points out in his essay “Marketing Cities for Tourism” (1999), in the tourist realm “it is the consumer, not the product that moves.
Because the product is usually sold before the consumer sees it, the marking of tourism is intrinsically more significant than the conventional case where the product can be seen, tested, and compared to similar products in situ. It means that the representation of place, the images created for marketing, the vivid
videos and persuasive prose of advertising texts, can be as selective and creative as the marketer can make them – a reality check comes only after arrival”.
Historically, the origin of modern vacation time can be traced back to the 1930s, when workers in France, for the first time, were given the right to twelve paid vacation days. Today, tourism has become a “total lifestyle experience.” The modern tourist resort is by definition a constructed one. The tourist’s perception seems to have shifted away from the pictorial 18th century: there is no longer the desire for the panoramic view. The excessively visual contemporary culture has made everything look familiar. Contemporary tourists are looking for familiarity: they want to feel at home in a foriegn land.