Dubai Tourism

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Exploring The Four Pillars Of Tourism In Dubai

Dubai offers one of the great tourist destinations of the world, perfectly placed on the world map to be reachable by  the maximum number of visitors possible. Tourism facilities in the Emirate continue to grow unabated.
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Tourism & Tourist Activities In The Emirate

That vision of Dubai's future as a leading global hub for tourism in the region is being carefully nurtured. New developments are being routinely announced, and the lead up to the 2020 World Expo in Dubai will be littered with enhancements to the tourist facilities that are currently available.

There's More To Tourism Than Holidaymakers

When we mention tourism we automatically think of holidays and vacations, but Dubai is setting the scene in other forms of tourism too, namely business, heritage, and even medical tourism.

Business Tourism

Business tourism caters for around 20% of current visitors, and that percentage is expected to stay around the same as tourist numbers grow over the years leading up to 2020.

The win to host the 2020 Expo has shown the world that the emirate means business, and can put on high quality business events such as conferences and trade exhibitions. The number of such events has tripled in the Middle east over the last 10 years, marking a higher growth curve than the rest of the world.

Healthcare/Medical Tourism

A term we're going to hear a lot more of as it grows all over the world. Healthcare tourism encompasses a range of health and vitality related attractions, with an intended focus in the region on building clusters of spa and sports resorts, and medicinal/wellness/illness/nutritional treatment facilities.

As Dubai aims to enhance its position as one of the leaders in healthcare tourism along with other countries such as the UK, Canada, Singapore, and Israel, local initiatives in this area are likely to result in the building of specialised centres catering for medical requirements such as orthopaedics, dentistry, diabetes management and cosmetic surgery.

The Emirate has some way to go to make it to the top tier of the Medical Tourism Association's list, but it's already clear that meeting and exceeding some of the scoring criteria - including 'medical Tourism Costs', 'destination attractiveness', and 'country environment' - is certainly not unachievable.

With the lifestyle in the Emirate becoming more and more attractive with each passing week, we can expect to see huge interest from expert medical professionals from each of these disciplines in relocating to Dubai.

The first 'heathcare /medical tourism package' has already been announced by the Dubai Health Authority and will include the costs of treatments, covering visa requirements, arranging accommodation, and associated recreational activities. Families that accompany the patient will be included too.  It's set to launch in September this year.

All hospitals in Dubai will be expected to take part in the scheme, with each laying out packages of their own. The DHA will review each package in combination with the facilities offered, and award either a platinum, gold, or silver accreditation. Deep analysis of the facilities, doctors, and proposed treatments will be carried out to ensure a quality that's commensurate with the proposed costs.

Heritage & Cultural Tourism

Many visitors will want to experience the authentic, historic background to any destination, and this is well catered for in Dubai's older districts. The focus is on winning Unesco World Heritage status for parts of the old city. There is accommodation available to visitors - mainly in the form of guesthouses - in older areas like the Bastakiya Quarter and near the Heritage Village.

Leisure/Holiday Tourism

Throughout this site you'll read a lot about Dubai's tourist attractions, many of them focused on luxury pursuits such as enjoying wonderful food, year round sunshine, stunning architecture both modern and old, and a myriad of annual tourism related events.

Outside of those there are a number of activities to enjoy - a fair number of them centred on adventure activities. For the intrepid adrenalin junkies there are the 'tough' adventures such as ballooning, rock climbing, hang gliding, and more. For the more sedate among us that still want a taste of something different there are opportunities for hiking, cycling, and horse riding. Let's take a look at just a few:

Horse Riding

Horses are revered in the UAE. The ruling family of Dubai are heavily invested in top class racehorses, and each year the Dubai racing carnival hosts some of the richest prized races in the world. There are a number of places where horse lovers can enjoy a spot of riding.

Desert Camping

After a 4WD trip across the desert dunes, you'll love the opportunity to camp under the desert stars in 5 star luxury or - for a more authentic experience - in your own tent. It's one great way to enjoy true Arab culture and an activity not to be missed. 


The falcon is one of the most well known symbols of Arabia. Owning and training falcons is the preserve of the wealthy nowadays, but there are places for visitors to see these magnificent birds in action.

Enjoy The Ocean

The warm waters of the Arabian Sea are perfect for swimming from the beach, but you can venture further afield for diving, swimming or fishing by hiring a a yacht for the trip.


Shopping facilities in Dubai are quite simply amazing. You'll find some of the biggest and most spectacularly designed malls in the world, while buying gold or spices in the souks is a pleasure you won't want to miss.

Buying diamonds is a one off event for many of us, and Dubai now even has a thriving diamond industry that reportedly is rivaling that of major cities such as Amsterdam. And if your interest is in buying Arabian carpets there are plenty of options for that too. Check out this page for more info on what to buy while you're in Dubai.

And the biggest malls are not just for shopping, they're well known as complete entertainment destinations. It's becoming a well recognised fact that what brings the shoppers in to the malls is not just the shops - it's the overall experience mixed up with other forms of entertainment.

At the Dubai Mall, you'll be spoilt for choice with a stunning aquarium where you can take a boat ride and swim with sharks, and an ice rink to show off your skating skills (or lack of them in my case!). Children and adults of all ages can enjoy these, but there are dedicated attractions designed to keep the youngsters happy too - including a recently erected 'real' Diplodocus dinosaur.
Building a great tourist destination that caters for the needs and desires of as wide a range of visitors as possible needs a combination of natural resources - sun, sea, sand, snow, mountains, desert, grasslands - and an equally diverse list of man made ones in the shape of accommodation, entertainment attractions, restaurants, shopping, and excellent internal transport systems.

Close your eyes and think of Dubai and you'll find the perfect tourist destination with something somewhere that covers everything in this list, and more on top.

But of course, tourism doesn't just happen. For a destination to become a global tourism leader, it needs a driving force. For Dubai, it all started out with the vision of its leader. A vision which has been firmly held and given rise to the top class tourist destination that Dubai offers today.

•  Holiday  & LeisureTourism    •  Cultural & Heritage Tourism   •  Healthcare & Medical Tourism    •  Business

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