In 2024, the Mercer Cost of Living City Ranking revealed that Dubai has become the most expensive city in the Middle East for international employees. The annual study lists cities worldwide, ranking them from most to least costly for living expenses. 

This year, Dubai jumped three spots to 15th place globally, due to significant rent increases and higher costs for basic needs like food and transportation.

Dubai's Skyrocketing Rent Hikes Squeeze Global Workforce Tight

(Photo : ZQ Lee on Unsplash)

Dubai Living Costs Deter Global Workforce

According to Mercer, the surge in living costs in cities like Dubai is mainly driven by inflated housing markets and elevated prices for goods and services. 

This trend is making it increasingly difficult for companies to move employees internationally, as these costs impact the pay and savings of these workers.

Globally, Hong Kong and Singapore continue to top the list as the most expensive cities, with their position unchanged from the previous year. These cities are followed closely by several Swiss cities, including Zurich and Geneva, which contribute to Western Europe's prominence in the top ten rankings.

Conversely, Islamabad, Lagos, and Abuja rank as the least expensive cities, primarily due to currency depreciations affecting their costs of living. This contrast underscores the varied economic conditions across different regions.

In North America, New York City remains the most expensive, ranking 7th globally. Other North American cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco also feature in the top rankings, indicating a trend of rising costs in major U.S. cities.

The report provides crucial data for employers managing international assignments and helps those considering overseas relocation understand the financial implications of moving to cities like Dubai, where living expenses have soared dramatically. 

As Dubai's rents continue to rise, it challenges the city's ability to attract and maintain a skilled global workforce.

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Dubai Boosts Tourism Efforts in Indonesia

Last week, Dubai Tourism hosted its 2024 Roadshow in Jakarta to increase visitor numbers from Indonesia. The event aimed to attract 100,000 travelers from the Southeast Asian market this year. 

During the roadshow, tabletop meetings were conducted between ten Dubai-based travel companies and about 100 Indonesian travel agencies.

TTG Asia reported that in 2023, Dubai saw a 36% increase in Indonesian visitors, totaling 75,000. 

Shahab Shayan, the regional director for Asia Pacific and Turkey at Dubai Economy and Tourism, noted the consistent rise in tourists from Indonesia, highlighting their loyalty even during the pandemic.

The roadshow featured new attractions such as The Museum of the Future and The View of the Palm, aimed at dispelling myths that Dubai lacks new experiences. 

Christian Sidharta, manager for Indonesia at Dubai Tourism, emphasized the diversity of attractions and accommodations Dubai offers, catering to both luxury and budget travelers.

Despite its reputation for high-end travel, Dubai is also positioning itself as an affordable destination with a variety of experiences for all types of tourists. 

However, creating unique itineraries for repeat luxury travelers remains a challenge, as they seek more than just the usual attractions.

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