The Emirate of Dubai is the second largest of the seven United Arab Emirates but has the biggest population at over 2.1 million people. Size has been synonymous with Dubai as it continues to build the first, unique and the biggest constructions in the world like Palm Island, the World’s Islands, Burj Al Arab (the only 7-star hotel in the world) or Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) and many others.
As the gateway between Europe and Asia, the city retains a genuine Islamic culture, while successfully embracing the liberal values that characterize the western world. This uniquely multi-cultural society is now home to residents from almost 200 countries across the globe.
Today, Dubai has emerged as a cosmopolitan metropolis that has grown steadily to become a global city and a business and cultural hub of the Middle East and the Gulf region.
Dubai is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, defined by its diverse people and cultures. Just over 10% of Dubai’s population are Emirati nationals; the remaining 90% are expats.
In contrast to other highly populated cities, Dubai has a high standard of safety, and violent crime has the lowest rate than in other cosmopolitans.
Dubai is the fastest growing city in the world. In 1990 there was a single skyscraper in the city, now there are over 400. The construction boom never stops making Dubai one of the world’s most popular business hubs and a top tourism destination.
Cultural practices in Dubai are directly aligned to the Muslim faith, which is the national religion of the UAE. Nevertheless, Dubai is welcoming to other cultures, faiths and traditions.
Dubai has become an important tourism destination on the global tourism map and a center of attraction for professionals and shoppers alike, which means there is simply no better place to study hospitality. UAE has recently been appointed to host EXPO 2020, which will see the arrival of 20 million visitors and over 250,000 hotel rooms booked.
Dubai is home to some of the world's finest restaurants, offering unparalleled dining experiences and a variety of cuisines and cooking styles from all over the world. It will not be hard to find good places to dine, have a snack or experiment and enjoy the famous Friday’s brunch that was introduced to Dubai by the British and is now a popular part of its culture.
Almost every day throughout the year the weather in Dubai is warm and sunny. In the winter it has an average daytime temperature of 25°C, nearer the coast 12-15°C. In the summer, the weather in Dubai is hot with temperatures reaching mid-40s.
The official language of the UAE is Arabic, although the cultural mix of the expatriate community means that English is commonplace as a second language and is often used alongside Arabic in official channels of communication. English is also used extensively in the corporate sector and service industries and while some knowledge of Arabic is always appreciated, it is not generally necessary in order to do business.
Dubai has an efficient and cost-effective public transport system that connects the 4,110 square kilometers of the city. More than 700 scheduled bus services operate across 79 routes serving the main residential and commercial districts of Dubai. Buses run regularly during the day from 6am and night buses operate every 30 minutes from 11.30pm until the morning service resumes.
The Dubai Metro currently operates two lines, with trains running every few minutes between 6am and midnight Saturday – Thursday.
Taxis are the most frequently used form of transport in Dubai with over 7,500 vehicles operating across the city. The Roads and Transport Authority ensures a fixed fare structure is in place for all government-operated cars and designated ‘ladies taxis’ are provided for women preferring a female driver service.
Dubai is becoming known as one of the world’s greatest shopping destinations, with a vast range of chain and independent stores offering a diverse collection of consumer products. The city is home to the world’s largest shopping center – the Dubai Mall – where you will find a host of international branded goods at high street prices.
The restaurants in Dubai are as diverse as the city’s cultural fabric. You can dine out on almost any budget and experience an eclectic range of food from across the globe. Outdoor dining is common in the cooler months, providing a pleasant atmosphere to catch up with friends.
Businesses are increasingly operating a straight shift, usually stating between 8 and 9 am and finishing between 5 and 6pm. The official weekend in Dubai commences on Friday and Saturday.
Many of the UAE’s public holidays are linked to Muslim festivals, which are determined by the lunar cycle. As the Islamic calendar is slightly different to the Gregorian calendar, with 354 or 355 days rather than 365 or 366, the dates of certain holidays change annually. The fixed public holidays are New Year’s Day (1st January) and UAE National Day (2nd December). All other holidays are confirmed by the sighting of the moon and are often announced just a day or two before the event.