Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 26 September 2020

Three quarters of UAE residents are upbeat about 2020, here's why

YouGov survey finds highlights of 2019 include improving infrastructure, Hazza Al Mansouri as the first Emirati in space and long-term residency visas

The opening of Dubai's Expo 2020 has been delayed until October next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chris Whiteoak / The National
The opening of Dubai's Expo 2020 has been delayed until October next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Three quarters of UAE residents expect 2020 to be better than this year, with three in five choosing the Expo as the most anticipated event, followed closely by better job opportunities, a YouGov survey found.

While about 65 per cent of the 500 people surveyed said they were happy with the way the past year turned out, 74 per cent said they are more optimistic about next year. About 61 per cent said they are looking forward to the Expo and 57 per cent chose better job prospects. A higher percentage of women than men said they are seeking more lucrative employment opportunities next year – 67 per cent compared to 51 per cent.

Respondents were able to select the top three of 10 choices. Other events lagged further behind, with about a quarter choosing the completion of mega structures, such as the Dubai Creek Tower slated to be nearly 100 metres higher than the Burj Khalifa.

Close to a quarter anticipate improvements in the UAE real estate market, which softened when oil prices slumped in 2014, and as a result of growing supply of homes and a slowing global economy. In September, Dubai formed a real estate planning committee led by Deputy Ruler Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed to achieve a balance in supply and demand.

A smaller proportion of people – about 20 per cent – are looking forward to global next generation technological innovations, solutions for environmental challenges (18 per cent) and more stable geopolitics (17 per cent). Only 8 per cent are interested in the future of Brexit and the US presidential elections.

As for this year, more than half of UAE residents (54 per cent) said improvements to infrastructure and connectivity, such as the construction of a new metro line to the Expo 2020 site, were a highlight. Global reach in various fields – including Hazza Al Mansouri becoming the first Emirati to be sent to space in September – came in second place as a choice for 46 per cent of respondents.

A similar number of survey participants (45 per cent) said events marking the Year of Tolerance, such as the Pope Francis visit to the UAE in February, and the allocation of long-term visas were shining moments.

Long-term renewable visas of five and 10 years – allowing expatriate residents to live, work and study in the Emirates without the need of a national sponsor – were announced in May 2018 and have been given out to prominent entrepreneurs this year.

Updated: December 19, 2019 02:27 PM

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