The United Arab Emirates is one of the world's fastest growing tourist and business destinations. Traditional Arab hospitality and comfortable winter temperatures are complemented by sophisticated infrastructure and world-class amenities.
The UAE also has become a world-class venue for conferences, regional and international exhibitions and major global sports events such as the Dubai World Cup for horse-racing, the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, the Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament, the FIFA Club World Cup, world class film festivals in Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi, and in conjunction with the White House, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The UAE has won the bid to host the 2020 World Expo (link is external).
The Emirate of Dubai is the second largest of the seven United Arab Emirates but has the biggest population at over 2.1 million inhabitants. Size has been synonymous with Dubai as it continues to build the first, largest and the biggest constructions in the world. Dubai's dynamics are always transient and ever-changing with its constant urge to construct something better and bigger than the previous. If there was a Palm Island, Nakheel thought of the World Island. Burj Al Arab seemed too timid when Burj Khalifa cropped up, distancing itself to being a loner in the crowd. Dubai constantly dwells in a suppressive competition with itself trying to magnetize tourists to a dreamy world of attractions and unheard of luxuries. The emirate's scoring points lie in its entrepreneurial abilities to create the inconceivable found in its tourist attractions,
landmarks, shopping centres, parks,
nightlife and hotels.
Although it strictly safeguards its traditional practices, it allows space for other religions to breathe, a rare quality amongst the conservative Arab world. Thankfully, it has been successful in shielding itself from extremism, much-needed for it to survive. Today, Dubai has emerged as a cosmopolitan metropolis that has grown steadily to become a global city and a business and cultural hub of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region.
There is much to do in the UAE beyond Dubai and Abu Dhabi. First settled during the Bronze Age, Sharjah is the cultural capital of the emirates. The Heritage Area of Sharjah City includes a Maritime Museum, an Islamic Museum and museums for traditional and contemporary Arabic art, among many others.
Ajman attracts international visitors with beautiful beaches, as does Fujairah which also offers snorkeling and diving and excursions to the Musandam Peninsula, renowned for the unspoiled nature of its sheer cliffs, rocky coves and coral reefs.
Ras Al Khaima, on the border with Oman, is probably best known among local adventure travelers for the rugged Hajjar Mountains.