A Guide for International Clients Exhibiting in Dubai

Exhibiting in Dubai is a gateway to big business opportunities. As a global centre for finance, logistics, trade, tourism and more.

But trade show success relies on more than a plane ticket. You need to prepare for your exhibition in Dubai, taking into consideration the country’s Middle Eastern values, culture, rules and regulations.

To ensure it is a positive one, Maeander Exhibition put together this comprehensive guide to exhibiting in Dubai.

Plan ahead

Dubai has a busy exhibition calendar, so it’s important to plan ahead and book your exhibition space early. Make sure you also research the visa requirements for your country and apply in advance if necessary.


Exhibitions often offer in-country booth support. You may find that it’s possible to get your booth custom built on site in Dubai. All you have to do is send over your designs and pay for the service.

Choose the right exhibition: Dubai hosts a wide range of exhibitions, so choose the one that is most relevant to your industry and target audience. This will help you attract the right visitors to your booth.

Design an eye-catching booth: Your booth design should be eye-catching and reflect your brand. Consider working with a local booth design company to create a booth that stands out from the crowd.

Over to you – how will you outshine the competition at a trade show in Dubai? Read our Affordable and Shining Booth

If you choose to ship your booth in advance, avoiding problems at customs will save you time and anguish. Dubai has strict regulations about what you can ship into the city. Prohibited items are:

Cooked or homemade food


Original prints, statues or sculptures

Printed material (books, photographs, leaflets etc) that go against Islamic teachings

There are also items that you’ll need to declare on arrival or provide relevant documentation when you ship to Dubai:

Cash above AED 100,000

Medicine (if a staff member requires prescribed medicines, they’ll need to acquire a prescription letter from their doctor and the medicine must be in its original packaging)

Films, books, CDs or photographs




There’s no doubt that Dubai is a westernised city. But 76% of the people living there are Islamic, and Islam’s religious laws are woven into the fabric of Dubai’s culture.

Therefore, to save your trade show team from offending local prospects or incurring hefty fines, you must teach them about bad behaviour and how to avoid it. Here are some pointers.

Shaking Hands

It’s polite to shake hands with a business prospect. But if it’s a woman, you need to wait for them to extend their hand first. In Islam, women can’t shake hands with members of the opposite sex. If a woman doesn’t offer to shake hands, it’s a clear indicator of their position.

Flashy Behaviour

You can’t cause a ruckus in Dubai. To fit in and appease your peers, keep a calm composure, even when presenting. You might have to rethink planned presentations if they’re on the showy side.

Using the Right Hand

The wrong way is using your left hand when interacting with objects or people. The right way… you guessed it. Instruct your staff on this important rule for when they’re exchanging business cards, shaking hands or offering freebies.


Keep the conversation about business. Don’t discuss religion, politics or the government to Dubai dwellers.

Be prepared for the climate

Dubai can be very hot and humid, so make sure you pack appropriate clothing and stay hydrated throughout the exhibition.

Business Attire

Dubai has a conservative dress code. Women need to wear high necklines and keep their shoulders and legs (past the knee) covered.

Local exhibitors and attendees will be in formal wear – dark coloured suits are preferred.

Follow local customs

Dubai has strict laws and customs, so make sure you research and follow them. For example, avoid eating or drinking in public during Ramadan.

Network with other exhibitors

Dubai exhibitions are a great opportunity to network with other exhibitors and industry professionals. Attend networking events and be open to making new connections.

Have a follow-up plan:

After the exhibition, make sure you follow up with any leads you’ve generated and continue to build relationships with potential clients in Dubai.

By following these tips, you can have a successful exhibition experience in Dubai and make the most of your time there.

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