About Dubai

Dubai is a major city in the United Arab Emirates, situated on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf. Its history as a city dates back to as early as 3000 BC. In 1971, Dubai became the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country, and has since emerged as the largest city in the UAE and its most popular tourist destination. With a population of 2.6 million, it is the largest city by population in the country, and the fastest-growing. To put the city’s population growth into perspective, when the CTBUH International Conference last came to Dubai 10 years ago in 2008, the population was only 1.6 million!

Today, not only is Dubai known for its iconic architecture and towering skyscrapers, including the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, it is extremely well known for its warm hospitality and rich cultural heritage, and the Emirati people are welcoming and generous in their approach to visitors. With year-round sunshine, intriguing deserts, beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels and shopping malls, fascinating heritage attractions and a thriving business community, Dubai receives millions of leisure and business visitors each year from around the world.

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About Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates that make up the country and is on the southeastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, adjoining the Persian Gulf. With a population of around 1.5 million, it is the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai.

Aside from its significant architectural landmarks, including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi is known for its diverse and multicultural society which is further reflected in the city’s diversity of cuisine. The cosmopolitan atmosphere of Abu Dhabi is gradually growing and as a result, there are a variety of Asian and Western schools, cultural centers and themed restaurants. Abu Dhabi also demonstrates a high regard for poetry and maintains a group called the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation that works to preserve the art and culture of the city.

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All delegates traveling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) must be in possession of a passport, which must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into the UAE (Note: National ID cards will not be sufficient to grant entry to the UAE).

The type of visa you need to enter the UAE depends on several factors such as your nationality, the purpose of your planned visit, and the duration of your visit. Currently, citizens of 50 countries and the GCC nationals can get a free 30-days visit visa on arrival at the Dubai International Airport and no advance visa arrangements are required. These countries include: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain (GCC Country), Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (GCC Country), Kuwait (GCC Country), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands (Holland), New Zealand, Norway, Oman (GCC Country), Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and Vatican City.

If your country is not listed above, then you are required to obtain a visa prior to your visit to the UAE. Visa applications are available from UAE embassies, travel agencies, or the UAE government website. To receive more information on obtaining a visa, please contact [email protected].



The United Arab Emirates is characterized by a tropical desert climate with very hot and humid conditions, especially during the summer months. The October conference will be approaching the beginning of the winter season. The weather at this time of year is typically warm and sunny, with daily temperatures around 72°F – 95°F (18°C – 22°C). Dubai and Abu Dhabi are well suited for high temperatures, as public transport, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions are all air-conditioned.


Getting Around Dubai

metroThe best way to get around town is either by taxi, bus, or train. To use the public transport system you will need to buy an Nol card. The card can be obtained and loaded with credit at numerous transit stops across Dubai. The Dubai Metro Red line is one of two metro lines in the city, which services 28 stations and includes stops in downtown Dubai and the airport. Walking can be difficult in some areas of Dubai due to a lack of paved sidewalks and traffic stops.


Getting Around Abu Dhabi

The best way to get around town is either by taxi, bus, or train. To use the public transport system you will need to buy an “Hafilat” Smart Card from accredited selling points in Abu Dhabi Island. The seats for female passengers are provided immediately behind the driver, the section for men is at the back. Abu Dhabi intercity buses start from the central bus station and link Abu Dhabi City with Al Ain, Liwa and Ruwais. Also, the buses to Dubai or Sharjah run from the main bus station. The trip takes about two hours.


Currency: AED


Throughout the United Arab Emirates, the Arab Emirate Dirham (AED) is the standard currency. For the current exchange rate, and conversion to other world currencies, see a currency conversion guide. Currency exchange is available at most banks, hotels and international airports. Banks in Dubai and Abu Dhabi offer the same range of services typical in other western nations, and cash withdrawal machines or ATMs are widespread. Banks are generally open 8am-4pm Saturday to Thursday, but some banks offer extended hours. Be aware that most banks are typically closed on Fridays.


Emergency Numbers in Dubai

The telephone numbers for the emergency services of Police and Ambulance are “999” and the number for the Fire Department is “997”.

Emergency Numbers in Abu Dhabi

The telephone number for all emergency services is “999”.

Traveling to the United Arab Emirates

Dubai and Abu Dhabi benefit from a globally central location.