Year in Review 2023 UAE | Fox Hills

The sun sets over the shining skyline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), throwing a golden hue on the architectural marvels that dot the landscape by Fox Hills, it's time to reflect on the numerous events that happened in this dynamic and growing country throughout 2023. From historic achievements to cultural attractions, economic advancements, and technical developments, the UAE has once again proven its status as a global participant in various fields. In this detailed blog, we will look into the significant events that marked the UAE in 2023, demonstrating its adaptability, creativity, and dedication to progress.

Major Events of the Year:


This year has delivered both ongoing success and periods of significant development and innovation, from the historic launch of Atlantis The Royal to the UAE hosting a historic COP28 and record-breaking real estate deals.

Here are the top local news stories of 2023.

Atlantis The Royal:


Atlantis The Royal in Dubai opened in February 2023 after being created piece by piece like a Tetris game. The resort caters to pleasure and business travelers, with celebrity chef restaurants, a luxurious spa, and an oceanfront location spread across 795 guest rooms, 102 suites, and 2 kilometers of private beach. It featured the world's largest aquarium, exhibiting 4,000 jellyfish, and a stunning water and fire fountain performance, continuing the UAE's tradition of world-class attractions.

Atlantis The Royal is 43 stories tall and has a unique cantilevered design. It has 231 luxury flats and 693 hotel rooms and suites, all with stunning views of the Arabian Sea and nearby Palm Island. The building is a landmark addition to Dubai's hotel scene and another example of the emirate's big plans. It combines luxury, entertainment, and engineering ability.

Iconic Beyonce performance:


The performance by Beyoncé was part of the opening party for Atlantis The Royal, but it deserves its own entry. The invitations were so sought after that the FACT Editor-in-Chief acquired one, and they made international headlines. It was her first show in four years, on January 21, 2023. The set list had 17 songs, from Brown Skin Girl, which she sang with her daughter Blue Ivy, to Crazy in Love, which became a big hit. She danced with the Lebanese group The Mayyas to show respect for the area and wore clothes from the Dubai-based brand Atelier Zuhra.


Dubai scraps alcohol tax:


To help the city's economy, Dubai officials announced the suspension of the 30% alcohol tax in January. The reforms meant that hotels, pubs, and restaurants would pay 30% less for alcohol than in prior years.

In addition to eliminating excise fees, Dubai removed fees for getting an alcohol license within the city. License costs were formerly AED270 per year with a four-week processing delay. However, anyone authorized to purchase alcohol can now receive permits free of charge from the MMI shops' 21 branches across Dubai.



Whether on Team Barbie or Team Oppenheimer, you felt compelled to wear your film on your sleeve. Barbie arrived in the GCC late, but she made a pink-tastic impression. Suddenly, it felt like we'd entered a Barbie world, with every other bar, café, and restaurant painted pink. BYOU Beauty Salon in Abu Dhabi offered Barbie-inspired treatments, and L'Arc Café offered Barbie-inspired drinks and sweets. Barbie became the highest-earning film of the year, grossing more than $1 billion worldwide.

Royal wedding:


Sheikha Mahra bint Mohammed and Sheikh Mana bin Rashid's royal wedding in April 2023 was an impressive ceremony that drew worldwide attention. Sheikha Mahra, whose father is UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, attended the ceremony in a couture white gown by Dubai-based designer Ezra Couture. She accessorized the gown with stunning diamond accessories, including a Chopard watch.

Photographs from the lavish occasion showed the joyful pair surrounded by family and guests, bringing joy to the ruling royal family. The royals then revealed in October 2023 that they were expecting a child.

A Year of IPOs:


In November, Dubai Taxi Company (DTC) announced its initial public offering (IPO) on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), marking a significant milestone for the public sector. The Offer Price Range was set between AED1.80 to AED 1.85 per share, with a total of 624,750,000 shares being offered, representing 24.99 percent of DTC's entire issued share capital.


Another significant IPO in 2023 was that of ADNOC Logistics and Services, a major operator in the logistics sector. The company debuted on the ADX in June, generating tremendous investor interest. 

ADNOC Logistics and Services' IPO raised an outstanding $769.5 million, reflecting significant trust in the logistics sector. The company's shares have continued to perform well, with an impressive 82 percent increase in share price since its offering, with a first-day return of 55 percent.


In April, Al Ansari Financial Services, a key leader in the banking and capital markets sectors, began its IPO adventure by listing on DFM. Investors reacted well to the company's debut, with the IPO raising $210.4 million.


ADNOC Gas, however, was one of the year's notable IPOs. Investors were quite excited when the company listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) in March. ADNOC Gas raised $2.5 billion in IPO proceeds, confirming its position as an industry leader.


Start of the UAE Corporate Tax:


The UAE Corporate Tax went into force on June 1 of this year, marking a significant step forward for the country. If a company's annual revenue exceeds AED 375,000, it must now pay a 9% corporation tax. Profits less than this amount are not taxed.

Pension or investment funds, the government, government-controlled organizations, public benefit organizations, and extractive and non-extractive natural resource firms that meet specific criteria will be excluded from registration under the tax law.

Enforcement of unemployment insurance:


On January 1, 2023, Emirati nationals and foreign employees working full-time in the public and private sectors were required to enroll in a new unemployment insurance program under Federal Decree-Law No. 13 of 2022 Concerning Unemployment Insurance (Unemployment Insurance Law). This was a significant step forward for the UAE in providing more economic stability for its workers.

The implementation deadline was initially set for June 30, but it was later pushed back to October 1 to provide extra time for compliance. This new unemployment insurance scheme underlined the UAE government's commitment to protecting workers during downturns and economic uncertainty, providing a stronger sense of stability to the workforce.


Etihad Rail 100% complete


Etihad Rail declared the successful completion of the 900 km UAE National Rail Network, a vast project uniting all seven emirates with an integrated train system in March 2023.

UAE's most expensive penthouse sells for AED 500 million


Earlier this month, Dubai real estate developer Nakheel sold the Como Residences Penthouse for $136.2 million (AED 500 million), making it the most expensive home ever sold in the emirate.

The property also cracked global records, becoming the third most expensive penthouse ever sold, after Penthouse D at London's One Hyde Park, which cost $237 million, and the Odeon Tower Penthouse in Monaco, which cost $440 million.

COP28 Hosted by UAE:


This year, the UAE hosted the UN climate talks at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai. It was the largest-ever climate meeting, with over 65,000 core participants, exceeding previous participation levels by 80 percent.

The UAE Consensus, a deal that aims to deliver on the fundamental principles of the Paris accord, concluded COP28 on December 12.




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