Tourism, development and ‘destination Dubai’: cultural dilemmas and future challenges


Stephenson, M. 2014. Tourism, development and ‘destination Dubai’: cultural dilemmas and future challenges. Current Issues in Tourism. 17 (8), pp. 723-738.
TitleTourism, development and ‘destination Dubai’: cultural dilemmas and future challenges
AuthorsStephenson, M.

The aim of this conceptual paper is to provide a critical assessment of Dubai's approach to tourism development, focusing on its cultural implications. The work initially observes ways in which the destination is building an image based on iconographic grandeur, monumental innovation and super-modernism. In doing so, the enquiry indicates that one fundamental sociological concern for destination Dubai is its perceived lack of cultural consistency, particularly in terms of the absorption of the old into the new. This position is evident through a paucity of heritage resources and institutions associated with the tourism market, as well as limited public knowledge concerning the ethnic and traditional elements of the indigenous society. Emphasising a more culturally focused tourism agenda could help to socially sustain and ground local communities (and identities) threatened by rapid urbanisation and Westernisation. However, one noted dilemma relates to the complexity of defining and deconstructing indigenous forms of ethnicity and identity. Nevertheless, the discussion claims that it is imperative not to lose sight of the possible opportunities for the productive advancement of localised forms of tourism and cultural capital. The paper concludes by highlighting the importance of examining the diversity of local perceptions of tourism, culture and development within an empirically informed framework.

PublisherTaylor and Francis
JournalCurrent Issues in Tourism
Publication dates
Online28 Jan 2013
Print14 Sep 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Dec 2013
Accepted22 Nov 2012
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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