A century ago, Dubai was a tranquil town whose coral-and-gypsum huts housed Bedouin traders, as well as a handful of fishermen and pearl divers, on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, in the heart of the Middle East. Today the merchants have gone international and oil-financed science-fiction skyscrapers stand alongside the mosques and wind towers of Old Dubai. Dubai is a fabulous mosaic of modernity and tradition, a world-class business and leisure centre, with the stunning backdrop of sea and sand.
The dynamism and ingenuity of the Dubai people is remarkable: 120km (74.5 miles) of vast artificial islands has been built to accommodate new beachfront and hotels, as existing coastline became saturated, while an award-winning international airline was created in 15 years to better connections with the world. The people of Dubai are commercially astute and Dubai is home to the world’s richest horse race, million-dollar lotteries, international tennis and golf tournaments, and a month-long shopping festival. Meanwhile Dubai is also home to the world’s tallest and most lavish hotel, perched on an artificial platform, and a city skyline to boggle the eye.
The second largest of the seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is located on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf. Outside the city itself, the emirate is sparsely inhabited and characterized by desert vegetation.
Ease of arrival
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is the busiest airport in the Middle East. The national carrier is Emirates, which flies to some 45 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Australia, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. Dubai International Airport has no separate airport departure tax; it’s included in the price of the airline ticket.
Selection of venues
Dubai has one of the world’s best selections of 5 star hotels, and offers top-class business and resort hotels, specifically catering for international business events. Many of these hotels are located in stunning beachfront locations.
When to go
The best time of the year to visit Dubai is between November and April, when the weather is coolest. Ramadan, which takes place at a different time each year on the Western calendar, is the Muslim month of fasting and is strictly adhered to throughout the UAE (it’s illegal to eat, drink or smoke in public from sunrise to sunset at this time.