Dubai is the business hub of the Middle East, acting as the major global transport hub for passengers and cargo. Oil revenue originally helped accelerate the early development of the city, but its reserves are now limited and production levels are low. Today, less than 5% of the emirate's revenue comes from oil, with Dubai's economy now reliant on revenues from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. A whopping 88.2 million passengers flew through Dubai International last year connecting more than 240 destinations across six continents on more than 100 airlines.
Business travellers can expect a fantastic range of hotels, restaurants and sights in Dubai. It doesn't matter on your duration, a short stay doesn't mean exploration is off the cards.
Many businesses from a range of sectors headquarter themselves in Dubai including property development, aviation, oil and gas, technology and financial services.
In this guide, we provide corporate travellers with all the information they will need when spending time travelling for business as well as some of our favourite places we have visited, weather forecasts, transport links, what to see, where to eat and much more…
Travelling to Dubai
It’s always good to check what VISA requirements need to be in place prior to booking travel. If using a Travel Management Company they will be able to guide you on this. For Dubai, a VISA is required unless the traveller comes from one of the visa exempt countries or one of the countries whose citizens are eligible for visa on arrival
With 22-non stop flights operating a day, operating from airports across the UK, it's never been easier to get to Dubai.
Round-the-clock transport links have become a priority and Dubai boasts a well-placed network of metro trains and taxis which keep the city and its people always on the move.
The RTA has created an app for travelling in Dubai which can be accessed HERE along with a route planner which gives you the best options for transport between two nominated locations - accessible HERE
The Dubai Metro runs two lines (the Red and Green lines) covering an overall distance of 75 km. Running times have been set from a 6am start to an 11pm finish Saturday to Thursday and 1pm - midnight on Fridays.
Fares range from 1 Dirham to 13 Dirhams depending on the route but you can purchase a “Nol Card” for 25 Dirhams which allows unlimited metro and bus travel throughout the day, similar to the Oyster Card System in London.
Taxis are a clean, affordable and reliable alternative to public transport. Fitted with meters, you will only pay what’s presented to you on the dashboard.
Top Tip - Females travelling alone who may feel uncomfortable with a male taxi driver have the option of a Ladies’ Taxi – driven by a female and identifiable by a pink-painted roof on the vehicle.
Taking the bus in Dubai is affordable and easy. Made up of 114 lines and including 170 double deckers (31 of which are feeder buses for the Metro) they generally run from very early in the morning to late at night (times vary for each route). For timetables and price information click HERE
Known as the Abra the water taxi takes you across the Dubai Creek. There are three Abra stations, one on the Deira side of the Creek and two others on the opposite Bur Dubai side a great way of seeing the sights of Dubai via the water. Abra timetables and journey times can be accessed via the RTA website HERE
Where to stay:
Dubai is renowned for its range of hotels and has a plethora of accommodation options to suit every business travellers budget including luxury hotels, boutique hotels and budget hotels. Tripadvisor has a comprehensive list of hotels best for business travellers along with the top 10 budget hotels.
Top things to see and do:
Whether you're spending free time in between meetings or adding on some “Bleisure” time to the end of your stay, a trip to Dubai isn't complete without a visit to the following areas.
#1 The Burj Khalifa - One of the most iconic and recognisable buildings in the world, the Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building. Here you can enjoy a personalised tour, guided by a guest ambassador whilst stepping out onto the world’s highest observation deck. Book your tickets HERE
#2 The Dubai Mall - The Dubai Mall is the second largest mall in the world. With around 1200 shops, the mall definitely has something for everyone. From electronics to fashion, toys and more, The Dubai Mall is home to brands such as Cartier, Chanel, Christian Louboutin to name a few. Team world class shopping with a plethora of eateries serving up dishes from around the world and you have an experience like no other.
#3 Dubai Fountains - The Dubai Fountains are the largest choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre man-made Burj Khalifa Lake. A treat for the eyes and ears, a visit to the Dubai fountains is not one to be missed.
#4 Adventure visits - From Jeep Safaris to Underwater Zoos, Dubai has it all. There are so many excursions to choose from and Attraction Tickets Direct has all the ticket information you will need. We quite like the look of the Dubai Helicopter Sightseeing Flight!
Where to eat:
When it comes to food, Dubai doesn't disappoint! Here are some of our favourites:
#1 Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant
The Al Dawaar Revolving hotel restaurant is Dubai's only rooftop revolving restaurant and. Offering stunning views along with an international buffet in elegant setting the Al Dawaar provides the entertainment factor along with delicious fare.
Cara is a sophisticated breakfast and lunch restaurant that offers an international buffet with European, Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian influences, alongside an a la carte menu. Great for working lunches Cara serves food and beverages prepared in open kitchens from the finest ingredients.
#3 Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge
Al Sarab is a two-level rooftop lounge offering the city’s most authentic Arabic atmosphere looking out over a stunning desert landscape. In the evening, the venue transforms into a setting straight out of 1001 Arabian Nights, with dimmed lights, soothing oud music and the pleasing aroma of the traditional Arabian shisha.
#4 Somerset's Bar
For something a little closer to home try Somersets. Here you can watch the latest sporting fixtures and maybe meet a fellow supporter! Serving typical pub food along with happy hours to suit a tighter budget, Somerset’s offers Darts, Pool and a great atmosphere.
#5 Seafood Market
Reinventing the sea-to-table dining experience, Seafood Market was the first market-style restaurant to have opened in Dubai. Its market-style displays of daily caught fresh fish and shellfish are a real treat for the eyes! The restaurant perfectly captures the essence of busy Asian markets amid a cruise-liner themed setting with diners “shopping” for their meal, choosing the catch of the day from the astonishing array of seafood - a culinary experience not to be missed!
Dubai Best Practice
It can be really difficult adjusting to a new culture when travelling for business. The Gov.uk website has some really useful information on best practice when visiting the United Arab Emirates. From local laws and customs to health, terrorism and everything in between, it's essential to be prepared before you travel.
Do you have any tips for travelling to Dubai? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Just leave us a comment in the box below...