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Incentive Travel in Dubai
A Front Row Seat to Dubai's Dramatic Transformation
One incident stands out in my mind. After a riding lesson at the Dubai Polo Club, I relaxed while I watched some polo. When I was ready to leave, I started to call taxi. A handsome polo player from Rajasthan offered me a lift back to the hotel. My father's words "Never take a ride from a stranger" echoed in my mind. I politely declined with my usual “Oh I wouldn’t want to take you out of your way”. His response was “Out of my way? The whole place is about 5 miles wide.” I laughed accepted his offer and he safely took me to my destination in no time flat.
On that trip, I met an elderly couple from the UK. The husband told me that when he had been in Dubai to help put in the infrastructure for electricity, the area around the clock was desert. At that time, the clock tower was a prominent landmark. When I went to Dubai in 2007 and 2008, I couldn’t even find the clock. It had been dwarfed by all of the new developments.
Dubai: A Unique Destination for Incentive Travel
They say that the Dubai skyline changes every 6 months and I believe it. I like to think of Dubai as not one but 3 dramatically different incentive travel destinations, the Dubai of the past, present and future.
Dubai of the past includes Diera and the area around the Dubai Creek.
Dubai of the present is an area of explosive growth towering skyscrapers under construction and modern shopping centres. It can best be seen from any of the beach hotels.
Dubai of the future includes the Palm Island trilogy and The Map by our clients upscale developers Nakheel. It also takes in the part of the desert slated for development that I described earlier. You’ll pass this area on your way to the Bab Al Shams resort. It has been a pleasure to watch the new Dubai take shape and each time I return, I look forward to seeing the changes that have taken place due to the dramatic transformation.
If you're considering Dubai as the destination for your next incentive trip, I hope that you will find some of these suggestions based on what I have observed during the last 81/2 years to be of value. Keeping these guidelines in mind will ensure your comfort and help you spend an enjoyable and memorable time in Dubai. It will be a unique incentive trip that your team will be talking about for years.
Surefire Tips for Incentive Travel in Dubai
Plan WELL Ahead for Best Accommodation in Dubai
The most important thing to remember is that it is to important to plan WELL ahead, especially if your group is large. As space becomes scarcer, prices do go up for accommodation and airline flights. Popular hotels like the One and Only Royal Mirage and Madinat Jumeriah’s Al Qasr sell out really fast. To avoid disappointment, some of the most popular attractions must also be reserved well ahead of time to ensure availability for groups.
Travel Between October and April
The best time to travel is between mid October and the end of April. At that time the temperatures are more comfortable and you can spend more time outdoors. Be flexible with your dates and don’t lock them in until you have given your incentive travel planner an opportunity to confirm availability of hotels and attractions. It would be a shame to lose out on an incredible location that could be available if your dates were more flexible.
Build in Enough Time for Your Group to Explore
Add an extra day to your group’s itinerary so that you can have a chance to explore the heritage section and get a sense of Dubai’s rich history and culture. Why travel to another country and learn nothing about the people and their culture.
Upon arrival, you will fill in an immigration and customs form. A portion of the card will be retained and you will be required to surrender it upon departure so don’t lose it. Visa requirements will be changed dramatically as of August 1, 2008 so make certain that you carefully verify what is required. Remember:
Take Precautions for the Climate
Even though Dubai is ultra modern, remember that you are in what was up until recently a desert:
Plan Around the Traffic
Until the LRT is ready in September 2009, traffic congestion will continue to be a problem. Plan your itinerary and then book your accommodation so that you are close to the attractions you want to see on certain days. This will be much more comfortable than sitting in gridlock for hours at time.
Dubai is ultra modern. You will find that technology is even more advanced than what you’re used to back home. I’ve never seen so many Ferraris and custom made Mercedes Benz’s in my life. It is important to remember that, even though Dubai is ultra-modern, it is also rooted in tradition and a proud history. Sometimes people forget that they are are travelling to a Muslim country with a vastly different culture from North America or Europe. The key is to make sure that you are aware of local customs and laws and that you respect them. Here are some examples:
While Dubai is more tolerant than some other Muslim countries and you will see some tourists wearing bikinis on public beaches, out of respect for your hosts, it is best to opt for a modest bathing suit.
Attractions to Build into Your Group’s Itinerary in Dubai
Many more articles in Globalness in The CEO Refresher Archives