Dos and don’ts of being in Dubai



Dress conservatively. Although Dubai is one of the more liberal Arab states, clothing should cover most of the body.

Take a break. A siesta is not uncommon in early afternoon, particularly during the hot summer months.

Indulge in small talk. Polite chit-chat is a good way of gaining respect and building mutual trust.

Conduct thorough research. Many people erroneously assume that Dubai is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or a country in its own right - it’s not!

Scrutinise business contracts. Dubai’s payment system can be notoriously unreliable.

Buy a small gift for your host. It’s not obligatory but the personal touch will be welcomed.


Attempt to do business without a trade licence. Nobody will be interested.

Expect a meeting on Fridays. The Muslim day of prayer.

Show the sole of your shoe in public. The sole is considered to be unclean.

Eat food or accept anything with the left hand. Hosts will be extremely offended.

Criticise in public. Any dispute with a colleague or client should be resolved behind closed doors.

Mix politics with business. Any chance of clinching the deal will fly out of the window.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer