by Brooke Thio | April 22, 2016

Why Go?
As the transport and commerce hub of the Middle East, Dubai boasts excellent infrastructure and facilities for businesses of all sizes. Surrounded by sea and desert and with a diverse multicultural population, the city brims with activities and attractions built on a solid foundation of Arab hospitality.

Ships of the Desert
The Al Marmoom Heritage Festival takes place annually in April, celebrating Emirati heritage with day-long shows, activities, and raffle draws. Held at the Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack, the main draw of the festival is the daily races among the best racing camels in the Middle East, with winners taking home huge cash winnings and pricey items.

Mall Marvels

Dubai Mall Fashion Avenue.
 Dubai is renowned for its grandiose shopping malls, housing thousands of stores ranging from luxury labels to fast fashion. There's more to them than shopping, however; various malls boast indoor ice rinks, penguin colonies, and extravagant themed interiors. Every January, the Dubai Shopping Festival sees retailers coming up with performances, special deals, and even fireworks shows to add to the merriment.

Five years on, the Dubai outpost of iconic London chain Hakkasan is still a favourite for modern Cantonese fare, with equally extensive roast meat and vegetarian selections. The restaurant's oak-latticed pavilions impart warm intimacy, while two private dining rooms can each seat up to 14 guests. Signature dining menus are available for groups of six or more.

Opened by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's protégés, Table 9 takes an innovative approach to modern European cuisine, serving dishes such as risotto and veal tenderloin in a comfortable, chic setting. Themed dinners are also available; the private dining room includes a dedicated bar and can accommodate up to 20 guests.

Ideas for Incentives

Arabian Adventures.
 The desert is an essential part of Dubai's history and heritage, and Arabian Adventures will put teams' communication, planning, and survival skills to the test with customised desert team-building programmes. Specially designed activities such as treasure hunts, duels, and drum circles in the challenging physical environment make this a unique team building experience.

Discover Dubai's humble origins with a heritage tour of Al Fahidi District, one of the oldest traditional Emirati neighbourhoods set in Bur Dubai. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) offers various itineraries including visiting the souks along Dubai Creek, a meal of traditional Emirati cuisine, and Q&A session about Arabic culture.

Race to the finish line in a thrilling go-kart circuit at Emirates Kart Zone, which offers comprehensive corporate packages with a choice of Sprint or Grand Prix races. All safety equipment is provided and the trained staff will conduct safety briefings for participants. A stage area, photography, and catering services are also available.

Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah is set to open in 2016 at the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah with 477 guest rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and beachfront views, as well as 10 dining and nightlife venues and a spa. Event spaces include 7 meeting rooms, a business lounge, and a 700sqm ballroom that can hold up to 400 guests.

In November 2015, Le Méridien Dubai completed a $122 million renovation that added 196 new guest rooms, six meeting rooms, and three new ballrooms totalling 5,500sqm of event space. The pillar-free Great Ballroom can accommodate 1,750 guests and features LED ceiling lights that even organisers can customise for any ambience.

In December 2015, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates unveiled its new look after a $100 million facelift to its 373 guest rooms and suites. The renovated rooms, decked in warm natural tones, are equipped with iPad-controlled media hubs. New meeting facilities have also been added, providing guests with high-speed Internet, state-of-the-art AV equipment, and more natural lighting.

April 2016 will see the opening of The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City, adding 1,004 guest rooms and suites to the central business district. The property has eight dining venues, 16 meeting rooms and a 1,427sqm ballroom that can host 850 guests.

Due to open in 2017, the Venu Bluewaters Island Hotel operated by Jumeirah Group will offer close to 300 guest rooms off the coastline near Dubai Marina. In addition to extensive beachfront access, the hotel will offer a variety of restaurants, a spa, and conference and meeting facilities.

Perched 450 metres above ground on the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa's At The Top observation deck presents a sweeping bird's-eye view of Dubai, from desert to city to ocean. Augmented reality telescopes expand the view to the fourth dimension, allowing viewers to observe the city's rapid development through the years via historical snapshots and videos. In the evenings, the Dubai Fountain lights up in a phantasmal dance that can be seen from the open-air terrace of the observation deck or down at ground level.

The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo.
 The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo has one of the largest aquarium tanks in the world, housing over 33,000 aquatic animals and over 140 marine species. In addition to aquarium activities like shark dives and ray feeding, the underwater zoo showcases native creatures of the Arabian Desert and a five-metre-long crocodile dubbed "King Croc".

Alserkal Avenue is Dubai's foremost arts district and the go-to place for discovering the most talented creatives in the Middle East. The area is composed of former warehouses converted into contemporary art galleries, design studios, and community spaces, all of which regularly hold exhibitions and events.

Unique Venues
Bateaux Dubai is a stunning glass-enclosed, air-conditioned vessel that provides guests with 360-degree views while cruising down Dubai Creek. The menu of international cuisine can be customised for lunch, dinner, or cocktail events, and special services like red carpet entrances can be arranged. The 56m by 13m boat is equipped with an A/V system and can accommodate up to 300 guests.

Located at Alserkal Avenue, a former industrial zone turned arts hub, The Fridge Warehouse is a versatile space for creative event execution with its 7m high ceilings, mirrored wall, and lighting and audio equipment. The 191sqm space can hold up to 250 people and is available to rent 24/7.

Surrounded by acres of lush gardens, The Farm restaurant on the Al Barari estate offers a stylish glass-walled interior space as well as an open deck suspended over a lake, allowing for relaxed mingling. The Wi-Fi equipped space seats up to 120 guests.

Meeting Hotels
Major properties near the CBD include the 1,608-room JW Marriott Marquis, 302-room Shangri-La, 341-room The Ritz-Carlton, and 394-room Fairmont. Hotels around Jumeirah include the 876-room Madinat Jumeirah, 452-room One&Only Royal Mirage, and 390-room Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort. Along Dubai Creek, consider the 814-room InterContinental Dubai - Festival City, 674-room Grand Hyatt, and 268-room Sheraton Dubai Creek.

Dubai World Trade Centre.
 Convention Centres

- Dubai World Trade Centre - Exhibition space: 35,915sqm; meeting rooms: 19. (971) 4-332-1000,
- Madinat Jumeirah - Exhibition space: 6,390sqm; meeting rooms: 16. (971) 4-366-8888,

Airport Transit
Dubai International Airport is 5km from the city centre. Taxis start from $7. The airport is connected to the city by the Dubai Metro. All major hotels provide a pick-up service.

Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport is 60km southwest of central Dubai. Transfer cost by taxi is $25-$40.

Service Charge: 10%; Municipality fee: 10%; 'Tourism Dirham' fee: AED 7-20 per hotel room, per night.

Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, (971) 4-201-0598,