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by Michaela Christensen | August 01, 2016
IN BRIEF
 In June, a US$2.9 billion deal was struck to extend Dubai's metro system in advance of the 2020 World Expo, to be held here. The nine-mile expansion will link the desert expo site with the emirate's existing metro Red Line.  

Dubai's second airport, Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central, is undergoing a US$32 billion expansion, which will enable the facility to accommodate more than 220 million passengers. The project is expected to make the airport the biggest in the world.


MUST DO
Make sure to schedule a desert safari, complete with a camel ride and an Arabic dinner.
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As Dubai prepares to host 25 million visitors for the Middle East's first World Expo in 2020, its meetings and events industry continues to heat up. In 2015, 14.2 million tourists came here, making it the fourth most visited city in the world. This year, event-tech giant Cvent named Dubai 11th on the list of top meetings destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. And, in May, Dubai hit a milestone by opening its 100,000th guest room, which positions the city as a top-10 global destination in terms of available hotel supply.


JUST-OPENED HOTELS
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide has rolled out a three-hotel complex in Al Habtoor City on Sheikh Zayed Road. The 234-room St. Regis Dubai opened last November, the 356-room W Dubai followed in June and the 1,004-room Westin Dubai opens this month. All offer meeting and event space, with the largest room spanning 15,361 square feet at the Westin.

The 420-room Rove Downtown Dubai  opened in May. This midscale hotel features free WiFi, a 24-hour gym and 2 p.m. checkout. The property offers flexible setups for meetings, events, networking and digital hangouts, with well-connected meeting rooms that can be booked online by the hour.

Set along scenic Dubai Creek, the 215-room Palazzo Versace Dubai opened for business last November. The property can accommodate events of up to 600 people and features a ballroom, three meeting rooms and a self-contained conference center that offers a variety of versatile function spaces.

The 237-room Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach has gained a sister property in the city, the 106-room Four Seasons Dubai International Financial Centre, which opened in March. The hotel includes a flexible 1,099-square-foot space for small meetings or for use as an impromptu workstation.


COMING SOON
A new convention center, set to open in 2018, is being built near Dubai Creek, next to the Mohammad Bin Rashid Library and facing Dubai Festival City. The complex will have two hotels, offices, a hall that will accommodate up to 10,000 delegates and five smaller halls that will each hold up to 1,000 people.

Theme parks are in bloom: Dubai Parks and Resorts, IMG Worlds of Adventure and Dubai Safari are set to open this year.