UNWDF 2018 Information Note

Dubai is located on the Eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the South Eastern corner of the Arabian Gulf. Dubai is one of the seven Emirates that make up the UAE. The others being Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah. It is extremely well known for its warm hospitality and rich cultural heritage. The Emirati people are welcoming and generous in their approach to visitors. With year-round sunshine, intriguing deserts, beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels and shopping malls, fascinating heritage attractions and a thriving business community, Dubai receives millions of leisure and business visitors each year from around the world. One of the most fascinating geographical aspects of Dubai is its Creek that divides the city into two.

The UN World Data Forum 2018 will be held at Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre.


Although Arabic is the official language of the UAE, English is widely spoken and understood. It is commonly used in most service industries including the retail stores, customer service and by the taxi drivers.

Visas & Passports

Visa requirements for Dubai vary depending on Nationality. Please check the requirements for your passport issuing country when planning your visit. There are countries that receive visas on arrival and others will need to apply for a visa from their respective Consulate/Embassy. Kindly visit the UAE Government Portal for further information. (https://government.ae/en/information-and-services/visa-and-emirates-id/do-you-need-an-entry-permit-or-a-visa-to-enter-the-uae ). For information on your nearest Consulate/Embassy you can visit the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (https://www.mofa.gov.ae/EN/DiplomaticMissions/Pages/Foreign-Missions-in-UAE.aspx)

Passport Validity -- Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into the UAE.


Dubai International Airport (DXB) has three terminals. Terminal 3 is used by Emirates Airlines, Terminal 1 is the main terminal for other long-haul carriers and Terminal 2 that is mainly used by the smaller aircraft servicing destinations relatively close to the UAE.

NB : transportation to the preferred hotels will be provided from Terminals 1 & 3 respectively, kindly take this into account when booking your flights.

Emirates Icon We are pleased to announce that EMIRATES AIRLINES has proudly been selected as the partner airline for the World Data Forum. Emirates has excellent connections to all of the six continents via Dubai with more than 155 current destinations worldwide. Use your Promotion Code to get special fares on Emirates.

Promotion Code -- EVE6UWD
Travel Validity -- 17th October 2018 to 29th October 2018
Book your flight at www.emirates.com and enter the above promotion code when you book.

Terms and conditions are as follows:
Outbound and inbound travel must be within the validity period
Destinations : Offer valid ONLY from and to gateway cities in which Emirates operates direct flight
Discounts applicable : 15% off on the Flex fares on Business Class and on Economy Class return fares. 10% off the Flex Plus and Saver fares on Business and Economy Class. Discounts are not applicable on First Class fares
Offer valid only for return travel to Emirates gateway cities to DXB and not from DXB.
The offer may not be used in conjunction with any other promotion, discount or special offer
Regular charges applies for any modification and changes as per the fare rule and conditions
The promotion code should be displayed on a secured website which is accessed by the attendees
All Emirates Skywards members will receive Skywards Miles for this trip when booked using the promotional code. Visit Emirates Skywards to become a member.


SHUTTLE BUS -- Transportation in the form of Shuttle Buses will be provided from the Airport to the recommended hotels listed in the "Hotel Accommodation" section. Shuttles will also be provided to and from the hotels (mentioned in the hotel accommodation section) to the conference venue for a specified period in the morning and in the evening once the sessions have ended. The Shuttle bus schedules will be provided closer to the event date and shared accordingly.

TAXIS -- Taxis are efficient, metered and reasonably priced. Fares can start at AED3,00 when hailed from the street and AED20,00 from the airport. When catching a taxi, most accept major credit cards, however try to ensure you have a selection of smaller notes in case. As well as the standard Dubai taxis, there are also a number of "luxury" taxis. These are metered however operate according to a considerably higher fare, AED50,00 starting fare, plus AED2,00 per kilometer. For further info on Dubai Taxi Corporation please visit http://dubaitaxi.ae/ .

UBER/CAREEM -- You can alternatively use apps such as "Uber" or local based "Careem" to hire a taxi. The apps are available in the app store.

METRO -- The Dubai Metro is inexpensive, clean, air-conditioned and very modern. There are two lines namely the Red Line that runs through the heart of the city along Sheikh Zayed Road connecting many significant landmarks along the way. The Green Line primarily serves "old" Dubai, including the Creek area and the souks of Bur Dubai and Deira. Stations are open from 6am to 11pm Sunday to Thursday and 1pm to midnight on Fridays. The trains run roughly every five minutes during peak timings and every eight minutes during off-peak periods. The station staff are extremely helpful and will guide you to where you need to go. For further info on the Dubai Metro please visit http://www.dubaimetro.eu/ .

TRAM -- Dubai 's first tramlines opened in November 2014 running for a little over 10km with 11 stops in and around the Dubai Marina area. The tram does offer useful connections for those wanting to visit some of Dubai 's popular waterside and beachfront areas. For further info on the Dubai Tram please visit http://thedubaitram.com/ .

CAR HIRE -- While taxis and public transportation are the best day-to-day options, hiring a car can be worth while for those who have some time off during their stay. Be warned however that traffic in the UAE can be congested at peak times and a little chaotic compared to what many people are accustomed to. There are numerous car rental companies situated at the airport. It is suggested however that you book your vehicle before your arrival as due to the large number of visitors to the UAE, vehicles are not always available on arrival.


Hotel accommodation in Dubai ranges from 3 stars right up to the luxurious 7-star Burj Al Arab. Six hotels in different price categories have been identified for delegates. To assist further we have managed to secure special WDF rates with these six hotels. The below links will send you directly to the participating hotels registration page where the Promo Code are already linked. Promo codes supplied can be used when booking on their normal reservations page or alternatively by phone. Participants are responsible for arranging their own hotel accommodations and reservations as well as the cost there of. Kindly note that most hotels require a credit card to confirm a reservation; the participant should plan accordingly.

Jumeirah Al-Nasseem -- 5 Star
Code -- FCS201018
Link -- World Data Forum Participants Block

Kempinski -- 5 Star
Code -- PUBL181020
Link -- https://kempinski.com/KIDXB/en/book/id.PUBL181020/start.20181020/end.20181025/ms.1/

Sheraton Mall of Emirates Hotel -- 5 Star
Code -- No code needed
Link -- https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/events/start.action?id=1805081401&key=32DA9AD7

Arjaan by Rotana -- 4 Star
Code -- No code needed
Link -- https://www.roventres.com/worlddataforum

Centro Barsha -- 3 Star
Link -- https://reservations.rotana.com/tb3/index.cfm?bf=rodt&arrivalDate=2018-10-22&nights=1&city=DXB001&country=AE&hotelCode=HYQDXBCB&adults=0&rooms=0&iatanumber=ROGFCSA&plprun=2&_=1525776390446

Metroplitan -- 4 Star
Code -- No code needed
Link -- https://reservations.travelclick.com/99539?hotelId=99539&DateIn=10/20/2018&DateOut=10/25/2018&Adults=1&Children=&Rooms=1&Length=5&languageid=1#/accommodation/room

Although these are the recommended hotels in the vicinity of the conference venue, there are a number of other hotels within Dubai should you decide to stay elsewhere. However, the shuttle bus transportation will only be provided to and from these 6 hotels to the conference venue.

Business & Trading Hours

Malls and shops open at 10am till 10pm every night so there is plenty of time after hours to do your shopping. Some malls are even open until midnight on the weekends. Unlike most countries, the work week in the UAE is from Sunday to Thursday with Friday and Saturday being the weekend.


Given our location in the Arabian Desert, Dubai enjoys a warm climate year round. The winter months from October through to May are the mildest, with average temperatures ranging from around 20 degrees centigrade through to the mid 30 's. During the summer months of June through September, the weather heats up with average temperatures ranging from the high 30 's to high 40 's. Humidity is generally high during the summer months.


The local currency is the UAE Dirham, abbreviated as AED officially, although unofficial abbreviations such as Dhs are also widely used. The dirham is divided into 100 fils and pegged to the US dollar at AED3.67. Coins in common use are 25 and 50 fils and 1 dirham with notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000. Make a point of carrying smaller denominations as small retailers, taxis etc may not have change available. Currency/Exchange Bureaus are available in the Airport terminals as well as all the shopping malls making it easy to exchange your cash to local currency.


Credit and Debit cards are widely used and ATM 's (from International and local banks) are plentiful. Please check with your bank before you leave what fees you will encounter when you do use them in the UAE. It is also advisable to let your card provider know in advance that you will be travelling to Dubai to avoid having them block your transactions.

Credit cards

All major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, American Express and Diners Club) are widely accepted in and around the UAE. Please check with your bank before you leave what fees you will encounter when you do use them in the UAE. It is also advisable to let your card provider know in advance that you will be travelling to Dubai to avoid having them block your transactions.


Dubai uses 220 to 240 volts electricity. The standard sockets are for the large, square three pin plugs also used in the United Kingdom. Adaptors are available at the Duty Free Shops located near the baggage carousels in the arrivals hall as well as in local supermarkets and stores around the UAE.

Time Difference

Dubai standard time is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +4) in the winter and 3 hours ahead (GMT+3) in the summer.

Mobile Phones

The UAE has two service providers namely Etisalat and Du. Both represented at Dubai Airport Arrivals as well as around the city in most shopping malls. Should you wish to purchase a "local" SIM card to avoid paying high roaming costs you will need to provide your passport with a valid visit visa. Pay as you go SIMs are available for use in any unlocked phone from outside of the UAE. Data packages are also available, staff located at each outlet will be able to assist you with this. Credit top-ups are available from almost all convenience stores, supermarkets or petrol stations.


While most restaurants will note at the bottom of the menu that taxes and service charge have already been included in the bill, it is still common among most diners in Dubai to tip the service staff. A figure of between 10 and 15 per cent is customary, but this is dependent on the quality of service. While tipping is always appreciated in Dubai, it is rarely expected, and no matter if one per cent or 50 per cent is given, the most important thing is to treat service staff with respect. A smile and a "Thank you" goes a long way.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT is set at 5% and may or may not be included in the retail price displayed on goods and services. Unless specified, kindly confirm with the retail staff.


While every care will be taken in all arrangements, please note that the UN and the organisers of this event, namely, the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, will not be held liable for any accidents, loss of/or damage to property or person during the conference period. Delegates must therefore ensure that suitable personal insurance arrangements are included in their travel arrangements.

Simultaneous Interpretation

Interpretation will be provided in Arabic & English during Plenary Sessions.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

Most of the major malls, café 's and restaurants have free WiFi as do the hotels. Some hotels will charge extra for the in room connection but as a guest you can usually use the internal business centers to browse for free.

People of Determination

The forum venue offers full wheel-chair access, designated drop-off points for people with disabilities, toilets for the physically challenged. The width of all external and internal doors has been designed to accommodate wheelchair access and lift buttons are placed to allow access by those in wheelchairs.

Auditorium is also equipped with designated seating sections for wheelchair occupants. Wheel chair friendly transportation will only be provided on request. Kindly email rene.wearing@fcsa.gov.ae should you have a requirement.

Safety and Security in Dubai

The UAE is generally considered to be one of the worlds safest destinations to visit with low levels of crime. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to take out travel insurance and to take the normal precautions to safe guard yourself and your valuables.

Important things to remember

Medication-- Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are available in other countries are considered controlled substances within the UAE. It is therefore best to procure a prescription or prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health before travelling with medicine such as psychotropic drugs or anything containing codeine. Failure to do this may lead to prosecution under UAE law. See www.moh.gov.ae for current information, or consult your local UAE consulate/embassy.
Dressing Appropriately -- Dubai has a relaxed attitude towards attire, however, visitors should remember that they are visiting a Muslim country. All participants are requested to dress modestly and most of the events hosted at the premises adopt a dress code of business formal or business casual.
Photography-- In general, ask for permission before photographing people. Avoid photographing women unless you have their permission to do so.
Alcohol -- The consumption of alcohol is strictly controlled in Dubai. Visitors can only buy alcohol at licenses restaurants, bars and hotels or from Dubai Duty Free on arrival. The UAE adopts a zero-tolerance policy to drinking or being drunk in public.
Offensive behaviour -- Good manners are essential in Dubai and displays of offensiveness can have consequences. Avoid using foul or abusive language, or making obscene gestures.
Water -- Bottled Water -- It is not advisable to drink the tap water as this is desalinated water. Various brands of bottled water are available for purchase at all shops and restaurants. Most hotels usually provide two complimentary bottles of water in your room each day.