Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Dubai

Learn why you should host your next meeting, event or conference in Dubai.

Why Dubai for Your Next Meeting or Event?

A destination like no other, this fascinating city on the Arabian Peninsula entices groups with its outsize attractions, cutting-edge technology and all things luxurious and breathtaking. Yet even while Dubai sprints into the future, it also preserves its past and gives groups the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rich history and culture. 

Only in Dubai

Emerging as a major new district, Expo City Dubai is a sustainability-themed city of the future rising on the site of Expo 2020, studded with educational, cultural, retail and entertainment offerings. With the initial rollout having taken place in October 2022, the project retains much of the earlier Expo’s features, including the Garden in the Sky observation tower, along with a number of pioneering initiatives such as a cloud-technology platform that monitors energy consumption and efficiency of power, light, water and climate controls. New leisure facilities, dining options, event venues and exercise grounds will join a network of cycling tracks, jogging paths, parks and gardens. The site also is home to the Dubai Exhibition Centre.

Travel Essentials

Taxes: 10% service charge; 7% municipality fee; 5% VAT

Convention Centers

Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre: The 1.3-million-square-foot venue is the largest dedicated events space in the region, located in the heart of the city and home to most of Dubai’s major exhibitions and trade shows, as well as a steady calendar of international conferences and congresses.

Dubai Exhibition Centre: Part of the Expo 2020 legacy and located within Expo City Dubai, the venue’s 45,000 square meters (468,000 square feet) of exhibition space is spread across two campuses (including a theater, auditorium, several multipurpose halls and four suites); the facility also offers 24 meeting rooms.

CVB: Dubai Business Events

Visa Information: Can be found here, including a list of countries whose citizens get 30-day and 90-day visas on arrival.

Local Currency: UAE dirham (AED); US$1 equals about AED 3.67

Power: Standard voltage, 220V; standard frequency, 50 Hz
 
Time Zone: Gulf Standard Time (four hours ahead of UTC, formerly know as Greenwich Mean Time)

Transportation in & Around the Area

Dubai International Airport, about 15 km (10 miles) from the city center. Transfer cost by taxi starts at about US$11. 

Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International Airport, about 55 km (34 miles) from the city center. Transfer cost by taxi starts at about US$34. 

Meeting & Event Venues

 New & Coming Soon to Dubai
  • His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, has launched the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 with the ambitious goals of doubling the size of Dubai's economy over the next decade and consolidating its position among the top three global cities. The initiative includes 100 transformative projects, with economic targets of US$8.7 trillion over the next 10 years, doubling foreign trade and adding 400 cities as key trading partners. The Dubai Economic Agenda D33 aims to accelerate growth by investing in human development, skillsets and advanced technology, as well as  consolidating Dubai’s global competitiveness, innovation and knowledge-based economy. The program will invest in enhancing the advantages gained from Dubai’s strategic location and its advanced infrastructure to raise the city’s status as a preferred destination for major international companies and investments. 
  • Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism has announced the launch of the annual Dubai Tourism Summit, a first-of-its-kind travel forum in the region which will lay the foundation for a home-grown, world-class thought leadership program to boost the city’s resurgent tourism industry and support regional and global tourism.
  • The Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah has opened with 608 guest rooms and suites offering stunning views of the Dubai skyline and Dubai Marina. Dining options include Trader Vic’s, McGettigan’s and Barfly by Buddha Bar, while guests also enjoy the tranquil signature Eforea Spa and a fully equipped gym. On-site event venues include 12 meeting rooms, a divisible ballroom and a terrace with panoramic ocean views that can host up to 800 people.
  • The new Marriott The Palm Dubai, the first Marriott in the region, offers 806 spacious rooms with sweeping views of Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina. The resort features the Saray Spa plus on-site F&B outlets like the rustic Italian-style trattoria Cucina, the Korean steakhouse Smoki Moto and the rooftop restaurant About Eleven. Nearly 12,000 square feet of meeting space spans 10 rooms, the largest of which can hold up to 750 people.
  • The luxurious 43-story Atlantis, The Royal Dubai is getting ready for its grand opening early in 2023. With 795 hotel rooms and 102 suites set across the 43-floor property, the resort will also have an expansive rooftop infinity pool; the Awaken wellness spa; restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs such as Gastón Acurio, Jose Andres and Ariana Bundy, and much more. 
  • Dubai saw the launch of Terra Solis by Tomorrowland, situated in the heart of the Dubai desert, in October 2022. Offering luxury glamping experiences, rustic dining and an expansive pool designed for large-scale events and parties, this sprawling desert-chic oasis lets guests choose between three accommodation options named after stars, meteor showers and constellations.
  • With a design inspired by traditional dhow boats, the recently launched W Dubai – Mina Seyahi is a new architectural icon with 318 elegant rooms and suites overlooking the Arabian Gulf.  Guests can linger in the lobby with expansive views of the Marina or spend afternoons soaking in the infinity pool and lavish BAR-B spa. A host of restaurants includes Ginger Moon, an urban beach-club experience. The hotel has four event spaces, the largest of which can host 150 guests.
  • A new addition to one of the city’s well-established properties, the Grand Hyatt Dubai Conference & Exhibition Centre is a state-of-the-art events hall with close to 54,000 square feet of multipurpose facilities, including some 32,000 square feet of open function space, a 6,000-square-foot royal arrival hall and can accommodate events of up to 4,000 people.

More Meeting & Event Venues
  • The beachfront property closest to Dubai's financial and business districts, the Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, has 256 rooms and suites and a 7,500-square-foot glass-walled ballroom complete with terrace overlooking the beach. On-site are four light-filled, divisible meeting rooms equipped with high-performance A/V equipment and more.
  • The Voco Dubai opened in 2019 on Shaikh Zayed Road, home to most of Dubai’s signature skyscrapers, Designed for both business and leisure travelers, the property has 471 guest rooms that overlook either Sheikh Zayed Road or the beach. Amenities include a business center, an outdoor swimming pool, a gymnasium, a spa, three restaurants and over 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
  • With 350 luxurious rooms and suites (including the largest suite in Dubai), the W Dubai – The Palm offers uninterrupted views of the Dubai skyline. The hotel, the first W brand property in the destination, includes 10 event rooms, the largest of which can hold up to 500 people, plus six breakout rooms. Amenities include six dining outlets, a private beach and watersports.

    Dubai Meetings Guide 1-3
    Raffles The Palm Dubai

  • Inspired by the palaces of 18th-century Europe, the 391-room Raffles The Palm Dubai offers carefully curated experiences on a private beach on the Arabian Gulf. The hotel features eight restaurants and bars, a 23,000-square-foot event space, a spa, a wellness center and yoga studio, and the largest private cinema on Palm Jumeirah.
  • The 432-room Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront, set in the Business Bay District on the Dubai Water Canal, provides a number of event venues, including a ballroom, 11 versatile meeting rooms and an expansive outdoor terrace overlooking the Burj Khalifa. F&B choices range from the Nordic inspired Larder restaurant and Scottish bar Makar to the down-home (Dubai-style) Fire Lake Grill House and Cocktail Bar.
  • At 1,168 feet high, the Gevora Hotel, the world's tallest hotel, is in the city's World Trade Centre. The tower offers 529 high-end accommodations, from deluxe rooms to two-bedroom suites, all decked out in gold-covered art deco splendor. Amenities include a fitness room, a pool and a Jacuzzi, as well as five restaurants. The Business Centre is on the 12th floor and includes a 15-person boardroom and a range of services.
  • The 504-room Lapita Hotel brings a Polynesian theme to its architecture, landscaping and culinary offerings. On-site is a ballroom that can hold up to 600 guests, along with seven meeting rooms and an outdoor gathering space. As the only hotel within Dubai Parks and Resorts, the property connects directly to theme parks such as Legoland and Motiongat, including their numerous event spaces.
  • The Stella Di Mare Dubai Marina Hotel has 369 deluxe rooms, all done up in a gorgeous art deco design, spread over 31 floors set in the waterfront Dubai Marina district. Features include a multipurpose ballroom that can accommodate up to 250 attendees, an expansive rooftop terrace and a number of culinary offerings, including the Yemaya seafood restaurant, Italian cuisine at Leonardo and an international buffet at La Fontana, plus the views from the Skyland rooftop bar.
  • Set inside the mixed-use Opus complex in a dramatically sleek and undulating glass structure designed by starchitect Zaha Hadid, the ME Dubai, part of Spanish hospitality brand ME by Meliá, has 74 guest rooms plus 19 suites and features 1,313 square feet of event space as well as fine-dining outlets, retail space, a bar, a swimming pool and a spa. The work of local artists is showcased in the lobby and within a mini gallery, with original pieces available for purchase.
  • On the lavish manmade island of Bluewaters and connected to Jumeirah Beach,  the 495-room Caesars Palace at Bluewaters Dubai has 12 restaurants and bars, five chilled pools, the award-winning Qua Spa and a private beach. The property also has a standalone conference center with 8,073 square feet of meeting space across six rooms, the largest spanning 4,090 square feet.
  • A full listing of meeting and event venues in Dubai can be found here.

Things to Do in Dubai

Extending Your Trip
  • Said to be the world's largest and most-visited retail and entertainment destination, the Dubai Mall spans 5.9 million square feet, with more than 1,300 stores and 200 food-and-beverage outlets. This bustling city-within-a-city features major luxury brands, an Olympic-sized ice-skating rink and an amusement park, as well as the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo with thousands of aquatic animals. The mall's VR Park, a first-of-its-kind attraction in the Middle East, welcomes visitors into a virtual- and augmented-reality wonderland.
  • For the ultimate thrill, Skydive Dubai offers ample reason to take the plunge, literally, thanks to expert guides who prepare visitors and literally join with them to free-fall from 13,000 feet up and over the beautiful Palm Jumeirah and Arabian Gulf. The company also can arrange piloted gyrocopter rides going as high as 1,500 feet.
  • A unique view of the city can be had by ziplining through it via the Dubai XLine. Guests hang tight as they glide for nearly a mile across the city and soak up views of the gleaming yachts and shiny high-rises before arriving on the terrace of Dubai Marina Mall.
  • Since opening its doors, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library has quickly become a cultural hotspot as the largest library in the region. Home to 600,000 physical and digital titles across its huge building in Al Jaddaf, the collection comprises nine thematic libraries, a café, a bookstore and an indoor/outdoor amphitheater.
  • Launched early in 2022, the Museum of the Future explores how society could evolve in the coming decades using science and technology. Recognized by National Geographic as one of the 14 most beautiful museums in the world, the facility incorporates elements of traditional exhibitions, immersive theater and themed attractions.

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    Dubai’s desert is open for adventure. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

  • Perhaps the most recognizable of Dubai's many attractions is the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which rises an incredible 2,716.5 feet into the sky. This 160-story monolith stands as the magnificent centerpiece of downtown and is adjacent to the 900-foot-long Dubai Fountain, one of the world's largest water, music and light spectacles. A full experience here requires whizzing to the top of the tower or, for a VIP experience, a visit to the Atmosphere Restaurant & Lounge on level 122, with stunning views in an upscale setting.
  • On Bluewater Island, the 820-foot-tall Ain Dubai is the highest observation wheel in the world, offering unrivaled 360-degree views of the city’s urban skyline during a mesmerizing 38-minute journey around. The attraction is part of a larger entertainment area complete with restaurants.
  • The Etihad Museum tells the fascinating story of the founding of the United Arab Emirates and the history and development of Dubai through a series of displays and interactive programs, with a special focus on the years 1968-1974. Along the way, visitors learn about the country’s unique constitution and the rights, privileges and responsibilities it confers upon its citizens.
  • With more than 150 million flowers in full bloom, the Dubai Miracle Garden has been one of the sweetest-smelling attractions in the world since it debuted in 2013 (fittingly, on Valentine’s Day). Open from October to April and spanning 780,000 square feet, the venue has been declared the largest vertical garden on Earth by the Guinness World Records.
  • One of the fastest-growing destinations in the world, Dubai is also one of the wealthiest. There is no better place to see its riches on display than at the country's souks, or traditional Arabian markets, set in the original heart of the city. Colorful, bustling and fascinating, these shops offer plenty of entertainment along with their share of Middle Eastern history. Dubai's famed Gold Souk features gold bracelets, necklaces and even breastplates, while the Spice Souk is filled with colorful, fragrant sacks of spices, herbs, rice and dried fruit.
  • Though Dubai teems with glamorous sports cars, motor bikes and private helicopters, this once was a city that relied mainly on abras — gondola-like boats — to transport people and goods up and down Dubai Creek. This is still a popular and scenic way to get around and offers a chance to watch old dhows (traditional sailing vessels) plying the Gulf's waters.
  • Spend an afternoon playing polo like you've never experienced it — on the back of a camel, the UAE’s most treasured animal. At Camel Polo, your group will be divided into teams, and after a champagne toast will get instruction in how to swing a mallet. Next come the camels; professional riders control the animals upfront while the players hold on behind, wielding their mallets to (hopefully) score goals.
  • Groups can experience Dubai's fabled desert in a number of ways, including by 4X4, with overnight stays and even by hot-air ballooning. Among the firms that organize desert activities is Platinum Heritage.
  • No matter the time of the year, slaloming down the slopes in the middle of the desert is possible at Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. Along with skiing, groups can enjoy snowboarding, ziplining and tobogganing — plus up-close-and-personal encounters with 20 friendly snow penguins.
  • Dubai is home to one of the world's richest horse races, the Dubai World Cup. Next year's competition will take place March 25, 2023.
  • Dubai's Palm Island is famous for being the world's largest man-made island — visible from space. Each frond of its palm-tree shape houses a vast number of residential, commercial and entertainment properties, including several uber-luxury resorts like the Atlantis and, at the trunk, the ultra-modern Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai.
  • Not only is the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding a nonprofit organization aimed at helping visitors get a better understanding of the culture and customs of the UAE, but it serves authentic dishes prepared in the home of the organization's founder. Offerings range from Arabic coffee to mhammar (small local fish spiced and served whole with carmelized onions).