The United Arab Emirates have abolished their weekend – from 26 May to 8 July – and at the same time moved it with several other Gulf states to a Friday, in an attempt to align with the West.
For years, the weekend in the UAE was 30 hours long: 24 Fridays (a Friday is the state holiday, and on the weekend the UAE marks National Day), with an opening day of Thursday.
That’s being changed to a Friday, along with the other seven member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Traditionally the Sunday was the day most people get to spend with their families.
Now it’s likely to be spent more in the commercial world.
There’s a social dimension too. A weekend shift gives people more time to socialise.
UK Foreign Office chief Peter Westmacott said: “It’s a very real opportunity for relations between Europe and the rest of the world to be in a much more cohesive way, and to try to work with the UAE to increase the potential and attractiveness of places like Dubai.”