A global city and business hub of the Middle East, Dubai is located within a country that has been ranked as both second globally for safety and security, and 21st for happiness. Bordered by deserts and beaches, Dubai provides stark contrasts, from intriguing Islamic culture to the ultra-modern, high-tech metropolis of the 21st century. The Emirate is an international conference, exhibition and leisure destination.
Compared with certain parts of the Middle East, Dubai has a very relaxed dress code. However, overseas visitors (both men and women) are advised not to wear excessively revealing clothing in public places, as a sign of respect for local culture and customs. Care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing that may be considered revealing eg low-cut dresses or tops, very short skirts, or tight shirts or tops in public.
Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year (summer, spring and autumn), though a light sweater or cardigan could be handy when visiting a shopping mall, hotel or restaurant where the temperature might be kept low to counter the outdoor heat.
CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE
Dubai's culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Courtesy and hospitality are among the most highly prized of virtues.
Dubai society is marked by a high degree of tolerance for different lifestyles. Overseas visitors are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served in hotels and, provided reasonable discretion is shown, the dress code is liberal. Women face no discrimination and may drive and walk around unescorted. Despite rapid economic development in recent years, Dubai remains close to its heritage. Local citizens dress in traditional robes and headdress. Arab culture and folklore find expression in poetry, dancing, songs and traditional art. Weddings and other celebrations are colourful occasions of feasting and music. Traditional sports such as falconry, camel racing and dhow racing at sea continue to thrive.
HEALTH AND MEDICATION
There is no requirement for visitors on short stay visas to declare their medical history.
As is the case with most countries, travelers are allowed to carry quantities of prescription medicine for personal use, and should carry with them a letter and/or prescription from their doctor. The UAE does restrict the importation of some narcotics and psychotropic drugs. For more information about travelling to Dubai with medications, please visit https://www.government.ae/en/information-and-services/health-and-fitness/drugs-and-controlled-medicines/controlled-medicines-
LANGUAGE AND RELIGION
The official language is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood. Both languages are commonly used in business and commerce.
Islam is the official religion of the UAE and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are respected and Dubai has a number of Christian churches, including Anglican, Catholic, Protestant, evangelical, and inter-denominational.
WCPT has sought and been given assurances there are no barriers or limitations on the content, including health and human rights, LGBTIQ issues, of the scientific programme for congress.
There are reportedly 89 countries in the world were homosexuality is illegal, including UAE and Singapore – the location for WCPT Congress 2015. No one is asked or expected to provide information about their sexuality on arrival in UAE.
The advice to behave with discretion and not display physical affection in UAE covers both heterosexual and homosexual people. This advice is common for overseas visitors to many other conservative countries.
The UAE has long had liberal visa policies, with citizens of the following countries and territories able to get free visas on arrival: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People's Republic of China, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, and Vatican City.
Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member state citizens do not require a visa for entry, while all other delegates’ entry visas must be processed prior to arrival in the UAE. All passengers travelling to the UAE must be in possession of a passport, which must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into the UAE.
Special entry permits can be applied for where citizens come from countries that UAE does not have official dilpomatic ties with.
As with any country, WCPT has no capacity to guarantee entry into the UAE for physical therapists from around the globe. At each of our congresses we have had delegates refused visas for reasons that are never disclosed by national governments. In all cases WCPT will continue to do whatever is possible to support our delegates’ visa applications.
For more information about visas and UAE, please visit: https://government.ae/en/information-and-services/visa-and-emirates-id/do-you-need-an-entry-permit-or-a-visa-to-enter-the-uae
Women represent more than 65% of the Emirati workforce in the federal government, 75% of the workforce in the education sector and about 75% in the health care sector. In 2018 equal gender pay was announced. The UAE Cabinet has made it compulsory for corporations and government agencies to include women on their boards of directors. At the Dubai Health Forum 2019 a council for gender balance was announced.
The Government of the UAE, represented by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHR), has been keen to act on strengthening the governance of the labour market. There are no independent trade unions in the UAE. However, the government has granted some professional associations limited freedom to raise work-related concerns, lobby the government for redress, and file grievances. The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the government of the UAE are working collaboratively to advance a number of areas of employment governance.