Dubai offers vacationers much in the way of holiday and tourist activities. Most of the Emirate is desert and thus it is only natural that at the top of the list of activities to enjoy would be a desert safari, or camel racing. Sporting activities include horse riding, go karting, ice skating, bowling and golfing. Various tour operators arrange excursions and tours of the Creek, or even aerial tours of Dubai by helicopter and hot air balloon. For a more sedate way to spend the afternoon head out for a stroll in the park with your city guide in hand stopping off at various points of interest along the way, or perhaps just a lazy afternoon of relaxation at the beach is your preference. And of course, there’s always shopping which features heavily in the “shopping capital of the Middle East” with its numerous souks, malls, boutiques and exclusive designer stores to wander around.
Theme and entertainment parks
Entertainment parks are also a big draw with venues such as Aquaventure at the Atlantis Palm, the largest of the water parks in the Middle East, featuring 42 acres of water slides, rapids, tropical landscapes and a private beach; Wild Wadi Waterpark, owned by the Jumeirah Group, offer guests unlimited free access to the waterpark if they stay at a Jumeirah hotel in Dubai. Downhill waterslides, aquatic roller coasters and riptide flowriders are just a few of the exhilarating activities to enjoy here. Wonderland Theme and Waterpark offers 30 fantastic rides and attractions in its 22 acres. And finally, Magic Planet, where kids can enjoy 10-pin bowling, an 11 screen cinema, and an array of electronic games all housed inside the Deira City Centre shopping mall.
Dubai Holiday Activities
No trip to the Arab lands would be complete without a foray into the desert. Many excursion companies offer full and half day packages enabling one to enjoy some extreme off-road adventure into the desert, ploughing over immense golden sand dunes via sturdy four wheel drive vehicles. Optional buffet dinners, sunset barbecues and overnight stays under the stars are also available, as well as Camel rides and dune racing. Dune bashing – roaring up, over and down sand dunes – is another thrilling option, but not for the faint hearted.
Traditional Arabic food generally accompanies such trips, along with the complementing flavour of Arab coffee. Some tour companies even offer male and female Bedouin dress for a truly authentic taste of desert life.
Since clouds and rainfall are infrequent, clear skies allow for a perfect view of the heavens above and can almost be guaranteed. The site of the millions of constellations is quite spectacular with no ambient light to diminish the awe of God’s creation.
A visit to the Dubai National Museum, situated in Al Fahidi Fort, one of Dubai’s most ancient historical buildings (built in 1787), offers fascinating insight into the social, economic and professional life of the region stretching back over a century.
Opened in 1971, the Museum is home to numerous archaeological artefacts dipicting Arab life as far back as the third, second, and first millennium BC. Articles on display from the Bronze and Iron ages include pottery, stone and metallic household utensils of the day, musical instruments, and clothing. The more grisly aspects of the past on view are curved daggers ‘hanjars’, swords, bows, arrows, axes, spears, sharkskin shields, and pistols.
Al Fahidi Fort was originally built to defend the town from neighbouring tribes and has over the years adopted various roles as an arsenal, jail, seat of government and ruler’s residence. Now it safeguards the memories of the past as Dubai fast enters the 21st century at an astonishing technological pace.
Since Dubai is the principal re-export center for the region, serving India, the CIS, Central Asia and South Africa but despite its relatively small population its total imports are close to 17 billion dollars annually.
In supplying emergent economies Dubai is able to offer a plethora of goods and services with the less prosperous countries happily receiving cheap-to-produce mass consumer products. This has not gone unnoticed by foreign manufacturers who are able to produce products using less sophisticated machinery for countries whose populations have lower expectation levels of product build quality and specification. As a gateway market Dubai has the potential to service some 1 billion people.
Setting up a business in Dubai has been made deliberately easy through a well-disciplined though relatively unrestricted code resulting in Dubai offering business people the most liberal and opportunistic commercial market in the region.
Conducting business in Dubai
There are three types of license available:
- commercial licenses covering various types of trading activity;
- professional licenses governing professions, financial and other services, and artisans or craftspeople;
- and industrial licenses for manufacturing or industrial activities.
All licenses are issued by the Dubai Economic Department although licenses for certain categories of business require approval from specific ministries or authorities. Banks and financial institutions must seek approval from the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. Insurance companies and related businesses must turn to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. Manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medical businesses must apply for licenses respectively from the Ministry of Finance and Industry and the Ministry of Health.