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Patterns of Tourism

From the ageless serenity of sweeping desert landscapes and the tranquil waters of the Arabian Gulf, to the lively bustle of traditional souks and gleaming commercial towers, the UAE is a destination like none other in the world.

We invite you to explore the many attractions our country has to offer, and learn why the UAE is quickly becoming one of the world's favorite places to visit.


Dubai is the unrivalled retail capital of the Middle East, drawing millions of shoppers from every corner of the world to its co​lossal malls and souks.

Along with Dubai Mall, the country's most recent tourist attraction, and Mall of the Emirates, home of Ski Dubai, Dubai boasts over 70 shopping malls catering to every lifestyle and trend.

The UAE also features many traditional open-air marketplaces, called souks in Arabic. Some of the country's best-known souks include Abu Dhabi's Al Mina Fruit & Vegetable Souk and Fish Souk, Dubai's Gold Souk and Sharjah's legendary Central Souk, which offers an astounding array of goods and products from around the world.


Whether skydiving over the iconic Palm Jumeirah, trekking through the Hatta Mountains or taking-in a heart-pounding desert race, thrill-seekers will never have a dull moment in the UAE.

Visitors who prefer a slower pace can enjoy hot air balloon tours over some of the region's most stunning landscapes, desert safaris and diving in the Arabian Gulf's pristine and prolific waters.


For sports fans, it doesn't get any better than the thrills, stamina and glory on display at the UAE's many sporting events. Take in the action and experience world-class competitions such as the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, Dubai Tennis Championship, Abu Dhabi World Golf Championship, Dubai Rugby Sevens, the Polo Gold Cup and the richest horse race on earth, the Dubai World Cup.


Discover the UAE's rich history and culture at historical sites and museums all across the country. Key areas of interest include Abu Dhabi Heritage Village, Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain, Al Fahidi Fort and Museum in Dubai and dhow building yards in Fujeirah and Ajman.

The UAE is also a thriving arts destination, with art shows, music festivals and theatrical performances held throughout the year. For more information, please explore our calendar of events.


Whether you are looking to earn a higher degree, study a new language or delve into the rich culture of Middle East for a semester, the UAE offers students from around the world outstanding higher education opportunities at its nearly 60 colleges and universities.

Leading institutions in the UAE include:

  • Abu Dhabi University
  • American University in Dubai
  • American University of Sharjah
  • Cass Business School
  • Dubai Knowledge Village – home to the British University of Dubai, Heriot-Watt University, Middlesex University and the University of Wollongong
  • London Business School
  • NYU Abu Dhabi
  • Université Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi
  • Zayed University


The UAE is an ideal destination for patients seeking treatment abroad, thanks to short wait times, competitive pricing and unsurpassed quality of care. In addition to rou​tine operations and cosmetic procedures, the UAE hosts specialized centers for oncology, genetic disorders and diabetes and new facilities for rehabilitation, pediatrics and integrated medicine.

To learn more about the UAE's healthcare services, please visit:

*Note: The three entities listed are currently positioning the UAE as a medical tourism hub, and are developing additional facilities to offer greater services and options for patients from abroad. This is not a comprehensive list of healthcare service providers.


As a strategic bridge between East and West, the UAE has emerged as one of the world's premier destinations for "MICE" – meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions.

The Amsterdam-based International Congress and Convention Association recently ranked Dubai world's top business events destinations, alongside cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and Melbourne.

In the UAE's capital, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) has recently opened the Middle East's largest exhibition facility – Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Marine Tourism

Marine Tourism has come in the scene as one of the rising tourism types in the country. A perfect example is Port Rashid (Mena Rashid) which is considered as the largest cruise centre in the Middle East, serving a growing number of passenger vessels visiting the city. Plans for expanding the facilities of the port were announced in 2011 by Dubai Ports World (DP World). The plans include entertainment facilities and restaurants to serve passengers and residents as well as centralized building catered to Tourism ships. The building is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, services and facilities to ensure the comfort of the passengers.