Discover all you need to know about Dubai traditions
Visitors to Dubai may be in for a bit of a culture shock. As well as meeting residents from every corner of the earth, you will mingle with traditionally dressed Gulf Arabs in their dishdashas and abayas. There is also the sound of the mosques at prayer time, Arabic chatter in coffee shops, the sweet smell of Arabian shisha (hubbly bubbly pipes), the beautiful intricate writing… it is all part of everyday Dubai culture.
Hospitality in Dubai culture
Emirati life is very much geared around families, with marriage and children being the bedrock of society. Hospitality plays a key role in Dubai culture, especially to strangers or newcomers, although older and more traditional Dubai citizens may be more reserved. Do not be surprised if you are invited to join an Emirati family for refreshment, and when carpet or jewellery shopping in particular, your tea will arrive almost before you do. It is polite to accept Dubai tradition like this graciously.
Islam and Dubai culture
Islam is inextricably intertwined with the very fabric of UAE society. Muslims see the Qur’an literally as the word of God, and it issues very specific moral guidelines, dealing with all issues of daily living. For this reason, the book itself is strongly revered, and must be respectfully treated. Although the most open of Arab societies in its culture, the Muslim tradition in Dubai is no different.
Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims, is marked by prayer, fasting and charity. As an Islamic country, Dubai culture is no different and many restaurants and cafes close during daylight hours. Non-Muslims should not eat, drink or smoke in public, but do so only in private or at specially closed off hotel restaurants. Although the visitors come and bring new customs with them, weekends are still Friday and Saturday in Dubai. Saturday is an intermediary line between the Islamic holy Friday, and the western weekend, which ends on Sunday. Modest outfits are, as a rule, mainstream in Dubai. Foreigners are encouraged not to wear clothes in public places that are too open or short, especially in conservative areas.
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 who were expatriates.
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.
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. Step by step, the whole city was replenished by new buildings, modern edifices and high-end apartments. The number of residents and which is of more importance, tourists is still increasing, and thus the hotels, townhouses, penthouses and apartments for rent are of high demand. Today, when you look at the exceptional oasis created by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, along with the crown prince, it is hard to believe that this was once a village with a limited source of finances.
The basic cuisine in Dubai varies, due to the various nationalities that make up Dubai’s population. In fact, about 71 percent of Dubai’s population is made up of expatriates and foreigners. According to the Dubai Statistic Center, which is a part of the Dubai Government, the city’s current population is 2,415.459. The datum is very accurate, because it has been updated quite recently, on the 13th of October, 2015. In cities like Dubai, there is also a substantial difference between the populations activity in the daytime, versus the populations activity at night. A remarkable chunk of the populations’ day was spent working inside. So, in 2014 the active daytime population was estimated to be 3,408.000.
A vast majority of the residents are expatriates, mainly from poor neighboring countries, as well as other various countries. This has influenced the ratio between men and women in Dubai in 2014, making up a correlation of 2:1.
Finally, the national religion in Dubai is Islam, and approximately 95 percent of Sunni mosques are patronized by the UAE authorities directly.
Dubai is world-famous for its marvelous landmarks. As a tourist, your main goal is most probably to handle your time management in the way to see most of them. Thus you should pursue maximum proximity to the sights while renting a vacation apartment. For instance, the Downtown Dubai, which is well known for The Burj Khalifa, the innovation of the 21stcentury’s architecture. This skyscraper surpasses all kinds of records. It is the globe’s tallest man-made building. If you visit Dubai during the New Year season, Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountains are the number one places to go to. While you are counting down the seconds, waiting for the New Year, you can admire the captivating water performances by the Dubai fountains.
Still, if you are looking for a holiday home the location of which also boasts shopping and entertainment, you can rent one near the Dubai Mall, which hosts more than 100 million visitors each year. After shopping, you can enjoy a meal at one of 200 restaurants and eateries. Afterwards, you can continue your day with some skating at the Dubai Ice Rink, or watching arthouse movies at The Reel Cinemas. The Mall also features the Dubai Aquarium and the Under Water Zoo, which are some other great places to visit. If you are with your kids, you can spend some quality family time with them, and head for KidZania. At KidZania they can view a priceless fossil from a 155 million year old dinosaur. Or you can take them to visit one of the theme parks here in Dubai, just enter the SEGA Republic.
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.
In order to assist those interested in obtaining further details about the Dubai economy , pages have been provided below with the latest data for key socio-economic indicators. They contain tables on Dubai Economic Statistics extracted from the "Dubai Socio-Economic Development Indicators" including a wide range of current data on the Dubai economy and society. Also, other pages contain the Quarterly Indicators as well as information about Investment in Dubai, industrial projects and commercial/ business centers.
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:
• Meetings, conferences, exhibitions
• Corporate regional headquarters
• Regional transport, distribution and logistics center
• Banking, finance and insurance
• Business and industrial consulting
• Information and Communications Technology
• Light and medium manufacturing
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. Initially, the rise of emirate’s economy was marked, by the rise of the oil industry in Dubai. Today, only 2 percent of Dubai’s gross domestic products, are made up of the petroleum, and natural gas industry. It is the era of financial dialogue between countries throughout Dubai. Many multinational banks, and financial institutions have their headquarters here in Dubai. The city is also famous for its gold trade. However, the fact that the majority of Dubai’s economy lies with tourism, is eminent in the 21st century. Tourism is the real gold. It is responsible for generating billions of dollars into the country’s economy.
Dubai has a tropical, desert climate. And this is the reason for extremely hot summers and warm winters. The average temperature in summer is 41 ℃. The highest temperature in Dubai was recorded at 52.1 ℃, in July of 2002. Nonetheless, the humid and hot climate has a good side in the summer. Winters are really nice and short here, the temperature usually doesn’t drop below 14 ℃.
The rain season starts with December, and ends with March. This period is considered the most comfortable climatic season of the year.
The United Arab Emirates currency is Dirham, (AE, ARE, and UAE). 1 Dirham is the equivalent to approximately 3.6725 US dollars.
If you are a citizen in one of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and/or the Schengen Area you have the privilege of travelling to the United Arab Emirates without needing a visa. Nationals of the listed countries, (you can find them on the emirates.com), do not need to make preparations beforehand since they have a 30 day opportunity to stay here, as well as another 30 days in case of special changes. However, if you have to make preparations regarding a visa, you can apply, pay for, and acquire a visa entirely online. If you have a relative in the UAE who is a citizen of the country, he or she may manage all of the issues of getting a visa for you themselves, without even needing your physical presence.
If you want to be a part of “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future“, you should be in Dubai from Oct. 10, 2020 until Apr. 10, 2021. This is when Dubai has the honor of hosting and managing the World Expo. The purpose of this is to rekindle the interconnection and cooperation between countries. We will welcome about 25 million visitors, and seventy percent of them will be from all over the world. The Expo will handle a number of amazing projects. Such as, the Museum of the Future, the Bluewaters Island, Dubai Frame, Dubai Creek Harbour, Dubai Theme Parks, Aladdin City, and many more. Many of these projects have already been commenced, and many are still underway of construction.
You are in Dubai, there is everything for everybody in the proper sense of the word. If you are a lover of desert safari, Dubai is the place to be. If you go on a dessert safari in Dubai, you will want to try sand-boarding. That is not even the beginning of the real inhabitants of the dessert, such as camels. So, why not take a camel ride as well. If you would like to feel the color of the whole city collectively, there are things here called abras. Abras are traditional wooden motorized boats, which travel to miscellaneous locations, all along the Dubai Creek. There are also larger, cruises. So you can relish on an Arabian dhow, sailing through the Persian Gulf. Golf is the most exercised sport here. The green of the Montgomerie Dubai Golf Club is the world’s largest area to golf, and it is made in the shape of the United Arab Emirates.
Your knowledge of the local culture may tell a lot about you. There are mostly unwritten rules which may save you from unwanted situations. For instance, clothing and behaving in public places demand strict rules, like not showing one’s shoulders, legs, and elbows for women, and not dressing too casually for the man (e.g. shorts). However, due to the growth of tourism, locals have become somewhat tolerant to certain outfits. Handshaking with an Arab man is welcome, but cannot be accepted by a women, who should avoid shaking hands with strangers and non-relatives. Additionally, avoid crossing your legs, this exposes the soles of your feet and shoes. To Arabs that is like saying that they are dirt, so they take it as an insult. Also, don’t use your left hand while eating, it is considered to be the unclean hand.