Abu Dhabi Emirate-General
Abu Dhabi is steeped in history, with evidence of human settlement stretching back 7,000 years, and an emphasis on conserving and promoting the heritage, culture, and traditions of the emirate is an integral chapter in the emirate’s story. While preserving the past, this is a place which shapes the future. The stunning development of the emirate supports its evolution into a world-class, sustainable destination. Abu Dhabi is blessed with distinct diversity of terrain, people, and traditions and has 700 kilometres of stunning coastline, beautiful natural islands, awe-inspiring deserts, bountiful oases, towering mountains, and vibrant cities for you to explore.
Abu Dhabi is a destination of near year-round blue skies, white sand beaches and a modern cosmopolitan capital city lifestyle which retains the richness of Arabian culture. Abu Dhabi city, and the wider emirate, is a destination for travellers who seek an authentic experience and wish to immerse themselves in a resilient, and largely unchanged, culture.
Archaeological discoveries suggest that fishing communities were living on the region’s coast thousands of years ago. Once a leading exporter of pearls, Abu Dhabi gradually turned into a trading centre and, by the end of the 19th century, had gained a reputation for its coastal souks. The discovery of oil in 1958 had a dramatic effect on the economy. Now, Abu Dhabi brings together old world charm and cosmopolitan chic in a clean and safe city.
Pedestrians should always observe the “walking man” signs at crossings and use the bridges and underpasses on major roads when available. It is not the custom for vehicles to stop for pedestrians on crossings without lights, so always wait for a sufficient gap in traffic before stepping out.
Arabic is the official language of the UAE. English is the second language, and you will find that everything you need is almost always in both languages. English is also widely spoken but if you try to learn a few Arabic words and phrases it will be much appreciated.
The currency of the UAE is the dirham, which is pegged to the United States dollar at the rate of Dh3.67 to $1. Currency exchanges can be found at the airport and in most shopping malls and will generally offer a better rate of exchange than banks, especially for larger amounts. Please note that shopkeepers and taxi drivers may have problems giving change for any bank note above Dh100. Be aware that the smallest note dispensed from an ATM is Dh100. Tipping in the UAE is optional but appreciated. You will find a service charge already added to your bill in hotels and hotel restaurants, but this often is not given to the restaurant staff. For taxis and restaurant staff, around 10 per cent is sufficient but no offence will be taken if you do not tip.
The international code for the UAE is +971, followed by the number, but dropping the first digit.
Etisalat is the preferred telecommunications supplier for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 and Etisalat sales outlets can be found at the malls and ADNEC.
Etisalat are offering a special deal on SIM cards for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, and additional credit can be purchased for your stay. You will need to show your passport when purchasing.
Most hotels offer free Internet for guests, as do shopping malls.
The UAE operates a 220-240 volt electrical system with three flat pin plugs inherited from Britain.