In little more than 40 years, Dubai has transformed itself from a tiny settlement to a glittering metropolis and world-class destination; the world’s 4th most visited leisure destination. Welcoming 15.9 million visitors in 2018, Dubai offers a rich diversity of attractions, entertainment and lifestyle opportunities.
This dynamic city is home to starling feats of engineering such as the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa and the Palm Islands, as well as hundreds of international hotels and restaurants, state-of-the-art shopping malls, and numerous entertainment options for all lifestyles. But the city’s multi-faceted appeal extends to more than just its architecture.
As well as state-of-the-art malls packed with designer brands, there are traditional souks and vibrant markets. And while Michelin-starred celebrity chefs have embraced Dubai’s high-end culinary credentials, there are still scores of independent restaurants and street food vendors with authentic flavours to explore. Some people are attracted to the buzz, the kinetic energy of a global business city and tourism hub.
However, others prefer the tranquillity of its desert retreats, calm seas and beaches where you can try your hand at diving, paddle boarding, trekking, dune bashing, camel riding or desert safari camping.
Beyond the gleaming, luxurious sky-high hotels, there's a historic side to the city too. You’ll see contrast and diversity by visiting Al Fahidi Historical District to see traditional Arabic architecture. You can try your hand at bartering for treasures at the souks of Deira and Dubai Creek where traditional abras cross the waters, and dhows unload their cargo beneath shimmering skyscrapers.
Dubai has a thriving arts scene including the Jameel Art Center and Alserkal Avenue which is home to the GCC’s only Arthouse Cinema, Cinema Akil. Hosting the annual Quoz Arts Fest, Alserkal Avenue is an art and design hub in Dubai, frequently hosting pop-ups, workshops and festivals celebrating its home-grown creative scene. The only thing you can’t experience in Dubai is boredom.
A Tolerant City
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has proclaimed the year 2019 to be the The Year of Tolerance in the UAE.
The Year of Tolerance celebrates the diversity of UAE residents and how a society of over 200 nationalities are able to live harmoniously within the UAE and embrace each other’s cultures.
The UAE has also been ranked as the second safest country in the world, beating popular holiday destinations like France, Italy, Singapore, the US and Thailand. The country has been ranked second only to Iceland by UK-based Which? Travel magazine when it comes to lowest risk of crime.
Which? Travel ranked the countries based on data produced by the World Economic Fund (for crime rates), the World Risk Report (for likelihood of major natural disasters), the NHS Fit for Travel website (for health risks), and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) assessment of terrorism risk levels.
The data drawn from the World Risk Report places both the UAE and Iceland at a joint score of 6.6 out of 100.