Welcome to Dubai, city of merchants, cultural crossroads, second largest of the seven emirates in the UAE. A country where the dust of the desert is clearing to reveal the potential for one of the most significant international cities of the 21st century.
Wedged between Europe and Asia, buttressed by Africa, Dubai's encouraging tax regimes, state-of-the-art telecommunications and pro-business environment have produced a country that is building energetically on the advantages which location, centuries-old trading savvy and oil wealth have given it. Sunshine, shopping, seaside, sports and safety - five of the key ingredients that have earned Dubai a growing reputation as one of the world's most attractive and rapidly developing leisure destinations.
Come visit, live or do business in this once sleepy desert town that has exploded onto the international scene and acclaimed as a rising star as a destination. Discover our heritage and culture, see its globally unique landmarks, indulge in 7 star luxury or challenge yourself to an adventure in its mystical deserts.
DUBAI - A CITY OF ENDLESS EXPERIENCES
Both business travelers and tourists find that Dubai offers the highest standards of comfort and luxury. As befits a dynamic and prosperous business centre, Dubai's ultramodern hotels offer every luxury. Yet the comforts of the 21st century co-exist with the emirate's rich Arab-Islamic culture. An intriguing land that combines old-world souks and modern shopping malls, rolling sand dunes and championship grass golf courses, remote Bedouin villages and an array of five-star hotels, Dubai defies easy definition.
Dubai has changed dramatically over the last three decades, becoming a major business centre with a more dynamic and diversified economy. Dubai enjoys a strategic location and serves as the biggest re-exporting centre in the Middle East. Its low logistical and operational costs and excellent infrastructure, international outlook and liberal government policies are attracting investors in a big way. Activities such as trade, transport, tourism, industry and finance have shown steady growth and helped the economy to achieve a high degree of expansion and diversification.
WHY CHOOSE DUBAI AS AN INVESTMENT LOCATION
The Dubai economy enjoys a competitive combination of cost, market and environmental advantages that create an ideal and attractive investment climate for local and expatriate businesses alike. In fact, these advantages not only rank Dubai as the Arabian Gulf’s leading multi-purpose business center and regional hub city, but they place it at the forefront of the globe’s, dynamic and emerging market economies. Dubai, with its ancient commercial and seafaring traditions, has long been recognized as the Middle East region’s leading trading hub and has emerged as its key re-export center. In more recent years, the Emirate has become a major venue for a number of growing, profitable industries and activities:
This all became possible due to Dubai’s warm, welcoming people, world class facilities and infrastructure and farsighted, open and liberal economic policies. Finally, committed to a progressive vision of itself, keen to diversify its economy and diminish its reliance upon shrinking oil revenues, Dubai has begun to develop into the Arabian Gulf’s premier international business center. Consider the factors that contribute to this ongoing success story.
DUBAI'S KEY ADVANTAGES
Dubai is a time zone bridge between the Far East and Europe on the East-West axis and the CIS and Africa on the north-south axis. It is a gateway to a market that can be characterized as:
Political And Economic Stability:
Dubai is part of the UAE which is a low-crime and politically-stable country. Also, the UAE enjoys financial and monetary stability. Its well-developed, sophisticated banking system features extensive credit facilities and ample liquidity. The Emirate’s emerging capital markets are built on a basis of leading-edge technologies and sound regulatory systems. The government has a long, consistent commitment to pro-business, liberal economic policies including the protection of intellectual property rights. The UAE benefits from stable and harmonious industrial relations. Finally, there is a well-defined, sound legal framework for business and a clear set of ownership rules. Foreigners are permitted ownership rights of up to 49% for limited liability companies established within the Emirate of Dubai and up to 100% for professional companies, branches and representative offices of foreign companies and free zones enterprises. All of these factors reflect positively in Dubai’s being assigned an investment grade rating for fixed income investment by Moody’s Investors Service.
Open And Free Economic System:
Dubai’s economy has been kept open and free to attract investors and business. Government control and regulation of private sector activities has been kept to a minimum. There are no direct taxes on corporate profits or personal income (except for oil companies that pay a flat rate of 55% and branches of foreign banks that pay a flat rate of 20% on net profit generated within Dubai). Customs duties are low at 4% with many exemptions, 100% repatriation of capital and profits is permitted, there are no foreign exchange controls, trade quotas or barriers and a stable exchange rate exists between the US Dollar and the UAE Dirham (US$1.00=AED 3.678). Liberal visa policies permit easy importation of expatriate labor of various skill levels from almost all over the world.
World Class Infrastructure and Service Sector:
Dubai’s deliberate policy of investing heavily in transport, telecommunications, energy and industrial infrastructure has enabled it to have one of the best infrastructure facilities in the world; it also contributed significantly both to its ongoing prosperity and attractiveness to international business.
The Emirate boasts of industrial areas, business parks and highly successful, specialized free zones of international distinction; world class seaports, a major international airport and cargo village, a modern highway network, state-of-the-art telecommunications and reliable power and utilities all of which deliver efficiency, flexibility, reliability, reasonable cost and size.
Complementing its world class infrastructure is a sophisticated service sector that features leading regional and international freight forwarders, shipping companies, insurers plus major international hotels, banks and financial service firms, lawyers, accounting firms, consultants, advertising agencies, top international exhibition and conference facilities, high quality office and residential accommodation, first class hospitals, schools, shopping centers and recreational facilities.
Free Zones Websites - Key free zones in Dubai:
International Humanitarian City: www.ihc.ae/
Dubai Airport Free Zone: http://www.dafza.gov.ae
Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park: http://www.dubiotech.com
Dubai Flower Centre: http://www.dubaiflowercentre.com
Gold and Diamond Park:http://www.goldanddiamondpark.com
Dubai Healthcare City: http://www.dhcc.ae
Dubai International Financial Centre: http://www.difc.ae
Dubai Internet City: http://www.dubaiinternetcity.com
Dubai Knowledge Village: http://www.kv.ae
Dubai Logistics City: http://www.dubailogisticscity.net
Dubai Maritime City: http://www.dubaimaritimecity.ae
Dubai Media City: http://www.dubaimediacity.com
Dubai Multi Commodity Centre: http://www.dmcc.ae
Dubai Outsource Zone: http://www.doz.ae
Dubai Silicon Oasis: http://www.dso.ae
Dubai Studio City: http://www.dubaistudiocity.com
International Media Production Zone: http://www.impz.ae
Jebel Ali Free Zone: http://www.jafza.co.ae
Techno Park: http://www.tp.ae
Dubai Auto Zone: http://www.ducamz.co.ae
JLT Free Zone: http://www.dmcc.ae/jltauthority/
Competitive Cost Structure:
International companies setting up in Dubai can obtain significant cost advantages not generally available internationally. The major factors are:
No corporate profit or personal income taxes (except for oil companies and branches of foreign banks). You can refer to the tables under the "Cost of Doing Business" section.
High Quality of Life, Excellent Living Conditions:
Dubai’s private sector has invested heavily in real estate such as hotels, residential and commercial properties, recreational and leisure facilities. In addition, a number of factors have contributed to the Emirate’s high quality of life and superior living conditions making it a model location for many to emulate. Those factors include excellent infrastructural facilities, low crime, clean environment, tolerance and cultural diversity, cosmopolitan life style, modern public administration, availability of a wide range of consumer goods and services, mild winters and clean, palm fringed beaches.
Strong Local Commercial Tradition and Wide Choice of Potential Business Partners:
The local business class has a long tradition of trading activity and wide exposure to international business practices and state-of-the-art technologies. Local entrepreneurs have already gained successful experience with international partnerships in franchising, licensing, joint ventures, etc, in various sectors of the economy.
Extensive Foreign Trade Network & Major Achievements in Export and Re-Export Performance:
Dubai is one of the top export and re-export centers in the world, after Hong Kong and Singapore.
Rapidly Developing Manufacturing Sector Producing a Wide Range of High Quality, Competitive Export Products:
Major gains have already been made in the profitable manufacture and export of aluminum ingots, fabricated metal products, textiles and ready-made garments, gold and jewelry, prepared foodstuffs, consumer electronics, refined petroleum, chemical and non-metallic mineral products. Supportive commercial, industrial, political and economic factors are currently in place that make possible the extension of these gains to other manufacturing sub-sectors.
Some 800 members of the Bani Yas tribe, led by the Maktoum Family, settled at the mouth of the creek in 1833. The creek was a natural harbour and Dubai soon became a center for the fishing, pearling and sea trade. By the turn of the 20th century Dubai was a successful port. The souk (Arabic for market) on the Deira side of the creek was the largest on the coast with 350 shops and a steady throng of visitors and businessmen.
By the 1930s Dubai's population was nearly 20,000, a quarter of whom were expatriates. In the 1950s the creek began to silt, a result perhaps of the increasing number of ships that used it. The late Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, decided to have the waterway dredged. It was an ambitious, costly, and visionary project. The move resulted in increased volumes of cargo handling in Dubai. Ultimately it strengthened Dubai's position as a major trading and re-export hub. When oil was discovered in 1966, Sheikh Rashid utilized the oil revenues to spur infrastructure development in Dubai. Schools, hospitals, roads, a modern telecommunications network … the pace of development was frenetic. A new port and terminal building were built at Dubai International Airport. A runway extension that could accommodate any type of aircraft was implemented. The largest man-made harbor in the world was constructed at Jebel Ali, and a free zone was created around the port.
Dubai's formula for development was becoming evident to everyone – visionary leadership, high-quality infrastructure, an expatriate-friendly environment, zero tax on personal and corporate income and low import duties. The result was that Dubai quickly became a business and tourism hub for a region that stretches from Egypt to the Indian sub-continent and from South Africa to what are now called the CIS countries. Since the 1960s, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, then ruler of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum had dreamed of creating a federation of the Emirates in the region. Their dreams were realized in 1971 when Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah, joined to create the United Arab Emirates. Under the late Sheikh Zayed, the first President of UAE, the UAE has developed into one of the richest countries in the world with a per capita GDP in excess of US$17,000 per annum. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Dubai took a strategic decision to emerge as a major international-quality tourism destination.
Investments in tourism infrastructure have paid off handsomely over the years. Dubai is now a city that boasts unmatchable hotels, remarkable architecture and world-class entertainment and sporting events. The beautiful Burj Al Arab hotel presiding over the coastline of Jumeira beach is the world's only hotel with a seven star rating. The Emirates Towers are one of the many structures that remind us of the commercial confidence in a city that expands at a remarkable rate. Standing 350 meters high, the office tower is the tallest building in the Middle East and Europe. Dubai also hosts major international sporting events. The Dubai Desert Classic is a major stop on the Professional Golf Association tour. The Dubai Open, an ATP tennis tournament, and the Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race, draw thousands every year
Since 1833 the reigning Al Maktoum family have ruled Dubai. Under their wise and progressive leadership Dubai has prospered and it is now the business and tourism hub for a region that stretches from Egypt to the Indian sub-continent, and from South Africa to the CIS countries.
The eighth ruler from the Al Maktoum family, the late His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai from 1958 – 1990, guided the Emirate with compassion and understanding. He realized what was necessary to transform Dubai into the cosmopolitan, prosperous city it is today. Sheikh Rashid along with Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, is credited with playing a key role in establishing the federation of the United Arab Emirates. Following the death of Sheikh Rashid in November 1990, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum became Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, positions he held until he passed away in January 2006. On January 4th 2006, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum became the Ruler of Dubai following the death of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Under his leadership Dubai is fast becoming one of the major cities in the world. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is also the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry for the UAE. He continues to ensure growth and success with groundbreaking results in the many business sectors of Dubai and the UAE.
HERITAGE & CULTURE
Although the early history of the area is not very well documented, archaeological discoveries suggest that, as back as four thousand years ago, small fishing communities lived along the coast of the Arabian Gulf on the site of modern Dubai.
It is also believed that the natural sheltered harbour afforded by the Dubai Creek was a busy port on the ancient trade route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. In recent years, archeologists have unearthed hundreds of artifacts, including pottery, weapons and coinage, that point to civilised settlements dating back to the third millennium B.C. These historic finds have been carefully preserved and are now permanently housed in the Archeological Section of Dubai Museum. Modern Dubai, however, traces its origins to the 1830’s. At that time, the small fishing village on the Shindagha peninsula at the mouth of the Creek was settled by a branch of the Bani Yas tribe, originally from the Liwa oasis to the south, led by the Maktoum family who still rule the emirate today. By the late 1870’s, Dubai was often referred to as the principal port on the Gulf coast and, by the turn of the century, was reputed to have had the largest souks in Arabia.
Pearling which was the mainstay of the city’s prosperity for many years, succumbed to the development of the cultured pearl in the 1940’s. But Dubai’s enterprising merchants bounced back, developing a thriving trade in gold and other commodities. Much of this history is carefully preserved in myriad forts, mosques, palaces and other historic monuments, which are on the itineraries of many organized tours.
TRADITION & LIFESTYLE
Dubai’s culture is rooted in Islam, providing a strength and inspiration that touches all aspects of everyday life. Virtually every neighborhood has its own mosque, where the faithful congregate for prayer five times every day.
One of the largest and most beautiful - Jumeirah Mosque- is a spectacular example of modern Islamic architecture. Built of stone in medieval Fatimid style, the mosque is particularly attractive at night when subtle lighting throws its artistry into sharp relief. Ramadan, which commemorates the revelation of the Holy Quran, is the holy month of fasting when Muslims abstain from all food and drink from dawn to dusk. Courtesy and hospitality, are among the most highly prized of virtues in the Arab world, and visitors will be charmed by the warmth and friendliness of the people.
The emirate embraces a wide variety of scenery in a very small area. In a single day, the tourist can experience everything from rugged mountains and awe-inspiring sand dunes to sandy beaches and lush green parks, from dusty villages to luxurious residential districts and from ancient houses with wind towers to ultra-modern shopping malls. The emirate is both a dynamic international business centre and a laid-back tourist escape; a city where the sophistication of the 21st century walks hand in hand with the simplicity of a bygone era. But these contrasts give Dubai its unique flavour and personality; a cosmopolitan society with an international lifestyle, yet with a culture deeply rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia.
OUTSIDE THE CITY
From seashore to mountain peaks, Dubai is a land of great natural beauty and variety. The desert, that accounts for much of the emirate’s almost 4,000 sq km area, encompasses rocky plains, high dunes and, between these two extremes, countless combinations of sand, stone and sparse vegetation.
This seemingly barren expanse supports a surprising diversity of wildlife, both plant and animal, though much of the former is seasonal and the latter nocturnal. Once isolated and forbidding, the desert now offers a fascinating and accessible experience for visitors, with an array of recreational opportunities from safaris by four-wheel-drive vehicle to sand-skiing. A number of roads now cross the wilderness, joining settlements and oases where, thanks to irrigation, ever-larger areas are turning green under the cultivation of vegetables and fodder crops. Along the flanks of the Hajar Mountains, naturally watered date gardens flourish, their foliage a magnet for birds. In the mountain enclave of Hatta, restoration work has preserved the old falaj or irrigation canals. Nearby, water can be found year round in wadis, steep-sided valleys gouged from the mountains by torrents unleashed by winter rains. The wadis are popular with naturalists and explorers, tranquil in contrast to the clamour of the city. The starkly beautiful exposed rock formations of the mountainsides provide a fascinating insight into the geological origins of the area and the forces which sculpted the rugged landscape.
CLIMATE & GEOGRAPHY
Dubai enjoys an arid subtropical climate, with blue skies and sunshine all year round. Temperatures range from lows of 10°C to extreme summer highs of 48°C. The average maximum daily temperature in January is 24°C and the average maximum daily temperature in July is 41°C when humidity is very high.
The hottest months are between June and September, when temperatures can soar to 113°F (45°C) and more during the day and humidity levels are very high. Even the sea temperature touches on 104°F (40°C) during the summer months, and swimming pools at hotels are usually cooled to be refreshing. Temperatures are only slightly more moderate the rest of the year, the coolest time being between December and March. There is very little rainfall in Dubai, but when showers do fall it is mainly in the cooler months. For up to date weather reports, log on to www.dubaiairport.com/dubaimet, or www.dia.ae/Dubaimet//Default.aspx, or call Dubai Meteorological Services’ automated system on 04 216 2218.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprises seven members: Abu Dhabi (the capital city), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
The total area of the country is about 83,600 square kilometres, much of it in Abu Dhabi emirate. Dubai, with an area of 3,885 square kilometres, is the second largest emirate. Situated on the banks of the Dubai Creek, a natural inlet from the Gulf, which divides the city into the Deira district to its north, and Bur Dubai on its south, the city ranks as the UAE's most important port and commercial centre.
The UAE has 700 kilometres of coastline, of which 100 kilometres are on the Gulf of Oman. Along the Arabian Gulf coast, there are offshore islands, coral reefs and sabkha, or salt marshes. Stretches of gravel plain and sandy desert characterise the inland region.
To the east, a range of mountains lies close to the Gulf of Oman and forms a backbone through the Mussandam Peninsula. The western interior of the country, most of it in Abu Dhabi, consists mainly of desert interspersed with oases.
FACTS & FIGURES
The local time is GMT + 4 hours
The official language of the UAE is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood in business and commerce. The other languages that are commonly spoken and understood are Hindi, Urdu and Farsi. Media - newspapers, magazines, TV and radio channels are available in all these languages.
Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year. However, sweaters or jackets may be needed for the winter months, especially in the evenings. Protective wear - hats or some form of protection for the head, sunglasses for the eyes and sunscreen - are advised when in direct sunlight.
Although Dubai has a liberal attitude, it is always wise to respect the religion and culture of the city by wearing appropriate, more modest clothing in public places. Care should be taken by wearing clothing which may be considered revealing, for example low-cut dresses, very short skirts, or tight jeans. Men should always wear a shirt or top in public. At the pool or on the beach however, trunks, swim-suits and bikinis are quite acceptable.
All major international credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard or Visa are generally accepted in shopping malls, larger supermarkets and stores, hotels and restaurants. Smaller retail shops and small restaurants however, prefer to deal in cash.
The monetary unit is the Dirham (Dh or AED), which is divided into 100 fils. The Dirham has been pegged to the US dollar since the end of 1997 at a mid rate of Dhs3.67.
The electricity supply in Dubai is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles. Plug points are the same as in the UK. To operate US made appliances and equipment, you will need a transformer to convert the 220V to 110V and an adaptor for the plugs.
The water in Dubai is desalinated and very safe to drink. However, most families prefer to buy bottled drinking water. Both imported and local mineral water is widely available from street-side cafes to supermarkets and hotels.
Weights and Measures
Officially, the metric system is followed
Social & Business Hours
The working hours during the week in Dubai are governed by the UAE labour laws. They tend to vary between 40 and 48 hours, depending on the particular company’s policy. Office hours are usually from 8.30 or 9.00 am to 5.30 or 6.00 pm in the private sector and from 7.30 am to 2.30 pm in the government sector. There is no change in time keeping between summer and winter. In the month of Ramadan, the working day is reduced to six hours and legally this should apply to all staff, but many companies only apply it to Muslims, who fast during daylight hours.
Friday is the Muslim rest day and, if your company has a five-day working week, the other day off will probably be either Thursday or Saturday. Saturday is the more popular choice for international companies, as taking Thursday off would mean a reduction in the number of operational days in common with much of the rest of the world.
ISLAMIC CALENDAR & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Islamic calendar and Public Holidays
The following chart shows the major Holidays and Islamic Events in the UAE for the year 2012/2014
Fixed Holidays : .
The Islamic events:
Lailat Al Mi’raj celebrates the Prophet’s ascension into Heaven. Eid Al Fitr is the feast of the Breaking of the Fast
FLORA & FAUNA
The flora and fauna in Dubai is not as widespread as in other parts of the world, however, there are an amazing variety of plants and creatures found here.
The flora of Dubai is filled with indigenous date palms. Towards the east, flat-topped acacia trees and wild grass is found scattered in the mountains. Desert oases are also found in areas where the land is uniquely green.
The city of Dubai lays a stress on far reaching greening program supervised by the Dubai Municipality. Horticultural techniques are encouraged in Dubai to cover the landscapes with greenery and almost all the chief areas of Dubai have been landscaped beautifully and are vibrant with colorful plants and flowers throughout the year.
Arabian leopards and ibex are the original fauna of Dubai . However, if you want to see them in sightseeing touring they are extremely rare. If you are very lucky or passionate enough to go for an extensive desert adventure, you can have a glance. Apart from these two rare species, the fauna of Dubai includes Camels, Donkeys and Goats which can be spotted easily in Dubai and often seen crossing the major highways. There are many other desert animals like Hedgehogs, Sand Cat, desert Hare, Gerbils, Sand Fox, Snakes and Geckos. The rich marine life of Dubai complements the fewness of wildlife on land. The extensive marine life of Dubai coast includes Tropical Fish, Dolphins, Turtles, Jellyfish, Dugong, Whales, Coral and Sharks. Hammour is the most famous indigenous fish.
Although Dubai lacks in wide variety of plants and creatures, the surprisingly few which are available are well kept and maintained by Dubai municipality.
CULTURE & LIFESTYLE
Dubai has a diverse and multi-cultural society. However, Dubai’s culture is shaped by the Islamic traditions of Arabia, with religion touching all aspects of everyday life in the country. Day-to-day activities, festivals, cuisine, dresses, weddings, and other customs are dictated very much by religion. Despite waves of modernity touching Dubai, the emirate remains close to its cultural heritage. Locals still continue to wear their traditional dress even today, which indeed is a symbol of national pride and identity. Arab culture and folklore find expression in music and dance of Dubai. Traditional sports such as Falconry, camel racing and dhow sailing are still popular in Dubai.
Dubai is a tolerant and relaxed society, with local population known for their traditional hospitality and friendliness for foreigners. Unlike other Islamic nations, Dubai also has a liberal attitude towards women. Women are respected and are free to join modern schools, or work in offices in the company of men. What's more, visitors to Dubai will find world-class hotels, beach resorts, nightclubs and bars and serving alcohol. A high standard international cuisine is available in the city’s many restaurants and if you are looking for lively evening entertainment there are numerous night clubs around the city. Some of the clubs attract international DJs; there are also Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian nightclubs offering entertainment with singers and dancers. Dubai also welcomes international touring singing and entertainment acts which cater to all tastes and ages - from traditional theatre groups to ballet, from opera to international rock and pop bands - all are regular visitors to the United Arab Emirates. All road and shop signs, restaurant menus and tourist information leaflets are both in Arabic and English. Although an Islamic country, the UAE respects other religions and followers are allowed to practice their beliefs. There is a Hindu temple, two Catholic churches, and Anglican and a Protestant church in Dubai.
The national dress is designed for the high temperatures and religious beliefs of the region. The men wear an ankle-length, loose fitting garment, known as Kandoura or dishdasha. It is generally made of white cotton. However, the kandoura is also made from darker and heavier material and is worn in the winter months. The headgear for men is called the guthra or sifrah. It is generally white and is held in place by a black cord called adal. Sheikhs and senior business persons also often wear a thin brown or black robe called the bisht over their kandoura. The bisht is typically worn during important functions and events.
Women wear a long-sleeved full-length dress called the Abaya. This is worn over the normal dress, jeans, trousers or the jalabiyas - long dress. in terms of the headgear, women wear a thin scarf called the shayla.
The colours of the UAE flag are similar to the ones in most Arab countries - green, white, black and red. The UAE flag comprises three equal horizontal bands: green at the top, white in the middle and black at the bottom. A thicker, vertical band of red runs down the hoist side. The emirate of Dubai has its own flag which is red with a white border at the hoist. It is almost always flown together with the national flag.
Food & Drink
Dubai is a food lover’s delight. Thanks to its visitors from many parts of the world and its multi-ethnic resident community Dubai has developed a sophisticated and innovative food culture. Almost any type of food is available, from classic European to Pacific Rim. You can eat Mexican, Polynesian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Persian, Italian and French cooking, and more at some of the finest restaurants in the Middle East. International fast-food chains, serving the standard fare of hamburgers, chips, pizzas etc (McDonalds’s, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, Hardee’s, Wimpy, Dunkin’ Donut) are also located in the larger cities. Kentucky Fried Chicken seems to be a particular favourite. International theme restaurants such as TGI Friday’s, Planet Hollywood, Fashion Café, Hard Rock Café and Henry J Bean’s are all represented in the Emirates! Gulf and Middle Eastern food is also available in a wide variety of venues, from expensive restaurants to local cafés. Fresh fish from the Arabian Gulf is always good – try lobster, crab, shrimp, or grouper, tuna, kingfish, red snapper, grilled, stuffed, or fried with spices.
If you cannot find anything to suit in that list, small ethnic cafés and corner stalls are ubiquitous. Shisha cafés offer an opportunity to smoke a shisha (hubble-bubble pipe) and serve food, coffee, tea and fruit juices and corner stalls serve shawarmas and other sandwiches.
Muslims are prohibited from eating pork so it is not included in Arab menus. Hotels frequently have substitutes such as beef sausages and veal rashers on their breakfast menus. If pork is available, it is clearly labelled as such.
Alcohol is generally only served in hotel restaurants and bars. Exceptions are some clubs (e.g. golf clubs) and associations. Restaurants that are not associated with hotels are not permitted to serve alcohol.
Business Culture & Etiquette
The UAE is a highly cosmopolitan well-educated society, familiar with the methods and means of doing business worldwide. However, there are a few points that people new to the Arabian business environment should keep in mind. Here, more than anywhere else, business is conducted on the basis of personal relationships and mutual trust. It is vitally important to build on these. Although it is changing rapidly and large firms are structured as in the rest of the world, companies are often a family affair, with the ultimate decision-maker being the head of the family. Even if this is not the case, it is essential to clearly identify the decision-maker. However, your initial meetings will probably be at a lower level. These are also very important as a means of building mutual trust. Print your business card in English and Arabic and make sure that all brochures and presentation material are full-colour and well produced.
Good manners and courtesy are prized attributes. Nevertheless, although you should always arrive on time for a meeting, punctuality is not considered a virtue and you may be kept waiting before or during your meeting. Do not be impatient. Take the time to chat and drink the coffee, tea or soft drink that is always on offer and establish the relationships that will stand you in good stead. Do not be put off if your meeting is interrupted by other guests or telephone conversations. The upfront, hard-hitting approach is generally not welcome. Be aware that what may seem like evasiveness on the part of your host is usually an unwillingness to say no to your face. Nevertheless, once a deal is made, orally or otherwise, an Arab businessman’s word is his bond and you are also expected to perform accordingly, even if the agreement is a verbal one. This can be disconcerting if you come from a business environment where verbal agreements are not binding. Hospitality is a way of life in the Arab world and business is frequently conducted over lunch or dinner – more than likely in a hotel or restaurant. Business meetings with Arab clients or colleagues may begin with a very informal preamble. They often take place in restaurants or cafes at a hotel rather than an office, beginning with polite conversation, usually about each other’s families. However, whenever the conversation turns to business it is usually resolved much quicker than in formal western business meetings. When meeting a handshake is followed by a touch of the heart with the right hand to show sincerity, and a woman’s hand is shaken only if it is offered. Although business meetings are less formal than western standards, by contrast business lunches tend to be more formal. As a strict rule alcohol is never involved, and it is essential that when sitting opposite an Arab colleague or client that the soles of shoes are not directed towards them as that is considered extremely offensive in Arabic culture.
Though often described as the most cosmopolitan and liberal of the Arab states, Dubai still adheres to an unspoken dress code that is both conservative and modest compared to that experienced in the West. In particular those working in the more rural and therefore traditional areas should take care to wear clothing that covers the body and limbs. Despite the often oppressive heat, those doing business in Dubai are expected to present themselves smartly. Although proper dress is important for all business dealings, the local climate has dictated that a shirt and tie (for men) is sufficient for all but the most important of business encounters; women usually choose a suit or a skirt and blouse and nothing too revealing.
Weather in Dubai United Arab Emirates