Taking a business trip to the Middle East

Arabic people having a business meeting

As the Middle East is rapidly becoming one of the most important business hubs in the world, more and more people visit the region as part of their work. It is a good idea to make sure that you are well prepared for your stay.

Where to stay

There are plenty of hotels in the region, and thanks to the growing popularity of the area, more are being built all the time. Dubai is home to the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, which is ideally placed for both the international financial centre and the convention centre. Chains such as Hilton have hotels throughout the region. Short-stay apartments might also be an option for the business traveller who needs to stay for more than a night or two. A number of successful businessmen have made a name for themselves in property in the area, and the news that Fahad al-Rajaan resigns from his role at a bank means that he has been able to focus on his property business. Renting one of these properties during a business trip could be a great alternative to a standard hotel.

Local travel tips

There are some public transport options such as buses, but in some areas of the Middle East these may be hit and miss, so taxis or car hire could be the best option for you. Remember that in some parts of the region women are not allowed to drive.

Cultural tips

Those who get to do business in Dubai will be pleased to hear that most business is conducted in English. However, this is not true of all the countries in the Middle East so you need to check in advance and arrange for an interpreter if needed. Business in the Middle East is rarely separated from a person’s personal life and networking is something that is very important. Building contacts is essential as this allows for rules to be bent a little when you need something to be done.

Unfortunately, parts of the region are still behind the times when it comes to gender equality, but more women are rising through the ranks of businesses in the Middle East. If you are male and are introduced to a woman at work then only shake hands if they offer to do so. Prolonged eye contact is also frowned upon.

Make the most of your free time

The Middle East is a fascinating region and there are plenty of attractions for you to visit. Dubai in particular is filled with cultural and tourist attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Enjoy the views from the observation level on floor 124! The Middle East is also filled with great souks so you can pick up authentic souvenirs to take home

The Middle East used to be seen as a remote part of the world that was unwelcoming, but these days nothing could be further from the truth. Companies from all over the world have set up a base in the region because it makes good economic sense. The region has plenty to offer the business world, so why not take advantage of it?

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