Coming to the Middle East in 2024?

As the crescent moon shows itself & the holy month of Ramadan starts, last week saw the UAE pack in even more cultural attractions than normal.


Notably Andre Rieu played Abu Dhabi on Saturday and I had the pleasure of being part of a rammed, 8000 strong audience at the Etihad Arena to listen to, dance at & imbibe a celebration of classical music with a full orchestra and an extraordinary list of guest sopranos and tenors. Not so many years ago it would have been inconceivable that world class entertainment stars would include UAE as repeat parts of their calendars, now you can’t move for Beyonce, Take That, Hamilton, Matt Rife…Abu Dhabi even has a comedy week with world class acts booked to attend (if you’re interested: May 18-25).   

There is an over-arching theme of peace and tolerance in almost every cultural show and location here – as I looked around the theatre on Saturday, everyone was up and enjoying the musical feast. Local dignitaries, elderly Emiratis, regional tourists from Syria, Egypt, Libya, Israel & Lebanon, children in the aisles & lots of us expats. As is so often the case here, we all enjoy to come together and remember our shared experiences and similarities. The Western media’s representation of this place couldn’t be further from the truth most of the time.


In the same area of Abu Dhabi (Yas Island) you can also find the F1 circuit, Ferrari World, Warner Bros, a huge Aquarium, Malls and one of the best Belgian beer bars I’ve visited outside Brussels!    


This is a region you have to see to believe and so we bring our internationally based clients into the region for a few days every couple of months. Last week, we were blessed to have a wonderful group with us in UAE and Bahrain. The programme included informal drinks, large scale investor networkers, lunches, spice and gold souk tours, visits to 5000 year-old forts, the wonder of brand new airports that don’t require you to undress to pass security and much more besides!     


Alongside the heartening comments we’ve had, a clear message came through – the peaceful attitudes, crime free streets & blend of West and East enchanted them. At a time when the world faces untold economic and security challenges, the UAE & GCC provides a haven of calm and effective opportunity to live, work & play.    


So, as you’re planning your work and vacations this year, make sure to surf around the 6 GCC member countries, I’m certain you’re going to find opportunities to do business and delight the whole family.