What could be more exciting than a business trip to Dubai? The growth of Dubai over the past decade is exceedingly impressive and striking. The energetic and active economy of the city attracts a good number of businesspeople from the foreign. While most of them come on business trips, a good number of foreign business people come to Dubai with desires to settle permanently. Initially, the economy of Dubai was simply based on oil; however, now it is far more than just an oil-producing nation. The GDP of the city, apart from oil output, is supported by retail and wholesale, construction, and hospitality, including travel and tourism. It is the tourism industry in Dubai that is currently registering a spectacular growth. With attractions like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dhow Cruise Dubai Marina, Beaches, Traditional Souks, state-of-the-art Amusement Parks, the city has something for people of all ages. As a business traveler, the following are a few tips that will come in handy during your visit to Dubai.
1. Arrival at airport
One of the best-connected airports from Heathrow is the Regional Hub Dubai International (DXB). Airlines that provide services are the Emirates, British Airways, Qantas, Royal Brunei, and Virgin Atlantic. Please note that if you wish to hire an official taxi from the airport, the same are cream-colored. The taxis will be pink trimmed if they have female drivers. The journey from the airport to the city takes about 25-30 minutes depending upon the traffic. There is a facility of Metro as well. The Metro links all the primary areas of the city to the airport. Every ten minutes a train will run from terminal 1 and 3 but not on Friday mornings.
2. Currency of Dubai
The currency of Dubai is known as the Arab Emirates Dirham, denoted by AED or commonly known as Dhs. The current conversion rate is 1 AED = 0.27 US Dollars. You will find all the major international banks operating in the city from 08 AM to 02 PM, Saturday to Thursday. ATMs are available and all the major credit cards are accepted in the city.
3. Free trade zones
Dubai has opened up free trade zones. These free trade zones focus on various sectors like media, healthcare, etc. As an expat, you will get a 100% exemption on ownership and taxes in these free trade zones. All the goods that will move to and fro are free from tax. These free trade zones are one of the primary reasons the economy of Dubai is booming.
4. Language used
Since, a major percentage of the population of Dubai is of expats, the use of English is pretty common. You will notice signboards and posters to be bilingual; Arabic and English. The official religion of Dubai is Islam, but other religions are happily accepted. However, please note that you are required to follow a code of conduct. Western dresses are acceptable; however, particularly in a business environment, wear clothes that cover the arms and legs.
You will witness clear blue skies throughout the year in Dubai. In winters, you might have to witness a bit of rain. If you are visiting during the summer months, be prepared to bear a heat of above 40 degrees Celsius. The prime months for tourists are October to March. The weather is comfortable during these months. In January, the temperature can fall to as low as 15 degrees Celsius. Hence, before planning a business trip to Dubai, keep a note of the season.
6. Alcohol consumption
Alcohol is available in Dubai. However, only licensed hotel restaurants, bars, and pubs are authorized to provide alcohol. Please take it easy on alcohol. While drinking is accepted in Dubai, it is not expected from you to be in a state of drunkenness while catching a taxi or walking back home. If you are found heavily drunk in public, you are bound to face police action.
7. Visiting during Ramadan
If you are visiting Dubai during the holy month of Ramadan, it is expected from you to respect the local culture and do not drink or eat in public from sunrise to sunset. However, you can have your meals in your own private space. While you might not face police action, but it is heavily frowned upon in Dubai if somebody eats or drinks in public during Ramadan when the Muslim population of Dubai is fasting.
8. Business etiquette
The business meetings in Dubai observe some strict rules. While you might be eager to be on point and discuss business matters at the very beginning of the meeting; the same is not customary in Dubai. Hence, indulge in a period of small talk, get comfortable in the setting, and then come to business matters. Hospitality is very crucial in Dubai. You will be offered tea or coffee in the beginning. Please do not refuse the offer as the same is heavily frowned upon; especially in business meetings.
9. Working days
The weekend in Dubai starts on Friday. So, the working week in Dubai is from Sunday to Thursday. Do keep this in mind before initiating your business endeavors in the city.
10. Know what’s happening in the city
UAE’s English Daily newspaper, The National has a twitter feed @TheNationalUAE. As a businessman, it is mandatory for you to know about the business affairs in the city. Hence, make sure you go through the twitter feed of the newspaper daily.
That’s all from us regarding the things that you need to know if you are on a business trip to Dubai. Any frequent business travelers to Dubai, reading this post, are welcome to put forward their suggestions in the comments section provided below. If you have any questions to ask, let us know about the same as well in the comments box.