Dubai – A Shopper’s Paradise
Dubai is one of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is the second largest emirate by territorial size after the capital, Abu Dhabi. It is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and has a population of around 1.7 million.
Oil revenue for Dubai started to flow in 1969 but today only 5% of its revenue comes from oil; tourism accounts for the major part with visitors lured by the extensive shopping facilities. Dubai is expected to accommodate over 15 million tourists by 2015 and its hotel rooms are ranked as the second most expensive in the world.
Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates and English is used as a second language, therefore brochures and business cards should be printed in English and Arabic. In addition, ensure that your brochures do not depict women in a provocative way and do not feature pigs, pork or alcohol. A few Arabic phrases will be appreciated by your hosts (e.g. the basic greeting is as-salaamu aleikum (“peace be upon you”); its reply is aleikum as-salam; min fudluk means “please” and shukran is “thank you”).
Emirati businesspeople usually put greater emphasis on verbal agreement than most executives in the Western corporate world. Your word is binding, so make sure you mean what you say when agreeing to terms, conditions, or prices.
At large multinational conventions or smaller meetings with Arab female staff or clients, you may find tables labelled “women only.” Women aren’t required to use these tables, but men are required to sit elsewhere, allowing women to separate themselves from male company if they choose to do so. At formal dinners women and men may be seated at different tables or on different sides of the room.
Women can wear standard feminine Western business dress, i.e. no short skirts and no cleavage on show. Trousers are acceptable, but clothing should be loose-fitting so as not to draw attention to the shape of the body.
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Sources: Wikipedia, Fodor’s Travel