Thursday, March 19th 2009, 9:48 AM
From the Palm Islands to Emirates Bank, grand Dubai, United Arab Emirates, feels the economic crunch. Dubai has thousands of untold stories of deep financial loss and failure, and it is getting worse by the day. Even air flights are being cancelled because thousands of people no longer wish to travel to Dubai.
The Palm Islands, for example, were heralded as “The 8th Wonder of the World” by numerous travel sites. They required a staggering $60 billion to construct, according to their developers. They attracted A-List celebrities from the Jolie-Pitts to the Beckhams to Lindsay Lohan. They were, in fact, “one of the most enterprising and ambitious ventures to ever have been imagined,” according to travel Web site Destination 360.
The epic Palm Islands, a series of three man-made islands in the shape of a palm tree, that along with the surrounding city of Dubai, were considered the “it” playground to the stars, a chic status-symbol to the rich, and a mammoth, epic, super-expensive, luxury landmark to the rest of us.
When you”re this high, you've got a long way to fall… And fall they have. Yes, the global recession seems to be official, as the Palm Islands and Dubai have smacked into economic trouble, according to numerous published reports.
“It is clear that tens of thousands have left, real estate prices have crashed and scores of Dubai”s major construction projects have been suspended or cancelled,” the New York Times reports.
And the Palm Islands themselves? Not looking so good. The Mirror reports that the islands' real estate values have plummeted – by about half. Properties that were selling for about $4.5 million are now going for around $2.3 million. Probably not welcome news to celebs like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who own property there, the paper reports.
But it gets worse. Real estate developer, Nakheel, maker of Dubai”s Palm Islands, has suffered recent layoffs, according to ABC News. The Guardian reports that the third of the Palm Islands, the Palm Deira, which was previously under construction, is on hold, and VIrtualTripping.com reports that it is downsizing in scale.
Why the conflicting views on these and other issues swirling around regarding Dubai's economic state? Because both Dubai's government and many of its residents are remaining silent. The New York Times reports that the government generally will not release data on the extent of the economic crisis in Dubai, and the Guardian reports that the general climate is one of denial in that “nobody wants to lose face, and everybody”s trying to put a gloss on the bad news.”
But here's what we do know – and it does not paint...