Dubai City Attractiveness, Its Brand Strength and Reputation

Dubai, a leading hub of the Middle East, boasts a strong international cultural exchange between locals, tourists and sojourners seeking an alternative, near-futuristic lifestyle in a glimmering city which strives to be the biggest and best. The city’s multiculturalism attracts a diverse population, and its commitment to hosting major international events like Expo 2020 and COP28 reinforces its global standing.

But how does Dubai’s city brand appeal to international investors and talent, in terms of its actual quality of life and urban sustainability? Let’s explore deeper how Dubai positions itself on the world stage, drawing insights from data provided by TPBO partners and other reputable institutions.

Let’s take a closer look at: 

  • Dubai’s competitiveness and financial performance
  • Livability: Dubai’s appeal for digital nomads and locals
  • Dubai’s brand strength and global attractiveness

Dubai’s economic competitiveness and financial performance

How attractive is Dubai as a place to work and do business?

The Global Financial Centres Index 34 ranks Dubai 21st, an increase of one position from the previous ranking. It is currently sitting between Tokyo (20th) and Sydney (22nd). The report also highlights that Dubai is likely to become more significant in the next couple of years with 56 mentions. Moreover, it holds a strong standing in the following industry sectors: FinTech (11th), Investment Management (13th) and Professional Services (15th). Dubai is the best performer in the Middle East and African region, followed by Abu Dhabi (35th) and Casablanca (54th).

According to 2thinknow’s Innovation Cities Index 2022-2023 Dubai ranks 14th, an impressive jump of 14 positions from the previous ranking. The city now sits in between Stockholm (13th) and Toronto (15th).


Dubai’s brand strength and global attractiveness

Which subfactors hurt and help brand Dubai?

Resonance’s 2023 World’s Best Cities Report ranks Dubai 6th, scoring the following in the Place Power Score subfactors: 4th in Prosperity, 5th in Lovability, and 35th in Livability. It currently sits in between Singapore (5th) and San Francisco (7th). The city also ranks 8th in the Attractions subcategory.

Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Report ranks Dubai 23rd, falling one position compared to last years’ publication. Moreover, Dubai positioned 38th in the Global Cities Outlook, a drop of 27 positions.

The comprehensive ranking of the Global Power City Index ranks Dubai 8th, joining the top 10 for the first time. In terms of function-specific rankings, the city ranks 24th in terms of Economy, 39th in R&D, 4th in Cultural Interaction, 19th in Livability, 44th in Environment, and 6th in Accessibility. Moreover, Dubai ranks 5th in the Highly-skilled Workers section, this positioning is presumed to be directly correlated to the city’s Workstyle Flexibility ranking (1st) and overall improvement of its work environment. Lastly, ranks 15th in the Corporate executive, 29th in the Resident and 4th in the Tourism categories.

According to Brand Finance’s City Index 2023, Dubai ranks 9th in the global ranking with a score of 75.8/100, sitting in between San Francisco (8th) and Amsterdam (10th). The city positioned 1st for future growth potential, 2nd in strong and stable economy, and 3rd as a city of global significance, sitting right behind London and New York City.


Livability: Dubai’s appeal for digital nomads and locals

Which aspects of Dubai’s urban living make it an attractive place to live and work?

The Mercer Quality of Living City Ranking places Dubai 79th ahead of Budapest (80th), Seoul (81st), but below Hong Kong (77th) and Ljubljana (78th). The Mercer Cost of Living Ranking ranks Dubai 18th behind Seoul (16th) and London (17th). The cost living survey reports that factors such as currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices are key to determine the cost of expat packages for employees on international assignment. 

According to the Best Urban Cities for Digital Nomads ranking by Spot a Home, Dubai only ranks 52nd out of 56 global cities. It currently sits between nearby Abu Dhabi (51st) and Tokyo (53rd).


Last updated in January 2024. More city profiles here.


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