Dubai is one of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It was formed on December 2, 1971, when Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Qaiwain and Fujairah entered into a union; they were joined the following year by Ras Al-Khaimah. Abu Dhabi is the capital city however it is Dubai, through dynamic vision and innovative development that has become the region's economic, media, tourism, and entertainment magnet. Since the discovery of oil in the 1960's the country has seen phenomenal growth - in particular since the year 2000. The GDP has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 13 per cent which far exceeds any of its GCC counterparts. The economy has also been growing faster than the emerging economies of China and India, and the developed economies of Ireland, Singapore, and the U.S. A safe, clean, exciting cosmopolitan city, Dubai has a modern legal system and infrastructure and was the first to introduce foreign ownership of land in the region. With a high income per capita and year-round sunshine, a superb quality of life is assured.
Dubai is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing cities in the world.
The currency is the United Arab Emirate Dirham (AED or DHS). It has been fixed to the US$ at a rate of 3.6725 for many years. Most major currencies are widely accepted.
English is spoken by the vast majority of people living and working in Dubai. All service staff in taxis, restaurants, and hotels also speaks English. Alongside Arabic, English is the language of commerce. Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog, Malayalam, Farsi, Pashtu and a host of other languages are widely spoken - reflecting Dubai's extraordinarily rich culture.
Dubai's population has incurred rapid growth. In 1975 from 130,000 to over 2.1 million 40 years later. As of 2017, the figure is reported to be 2.885 million and the UAE's last recorded population (Dec 2017) is at approximately 9.4 million.
Dubai weather and climate has created both pleasant and unpleasant weather conditions. The best period to visit Dubai is between November and March when the Dubai weather conditions are at its best with cool and pleasant temperatures of around 24-30 degrees Celsius during the day. Dubai has a typically arid subtropical climate due to its location within the Northern desert belt. Temperatures during the summer months between June and September can reach over 50 degrees Celsius.
Most travellers need to obtain a visa prior to entering the Emirate and this can depend on nationality, the purpose of visit and planned duration. The process is straightforward and indeed citizens of 39 countries and GCC nationals no longer require a visa prior to arrival into the UAE.
Dubai is a modern city that welcomes visitors from around the world. However, as it is also a Muslim city, there are certain factors to take into consideration in terms of dress code and behaviour. One should dress and behave modestly and with respect at all times. Summer clothing is recommended for most of the year however during the cooler months a light sweater or shawl may be required for the evening.
Dubai has become the Middle East's leisure capital, building its reputation on the ability to offer both tourists and residents a uniquely enjoyable lifestyle. It offers some of the world's largest and most exciting shopping malls, including indoor ski slopes, ice rinks, and aquariums. It is bustling with modern, world-class nightclubs, bars, and restaurants as well as an array of theme attraction parks. Dubai's climate and landscape are enjoyed by campers and off-road enthusiasts and is featured on the sporting calendars for all equestrian, golf and boating enthusiasts.