There are up to 3,500 Italians in the United Arab Emirates, approximately two-thirds of which are in Dubai and the remaining in Abu Dhabi. The UAE in recent years has attained the status of a favourite destination, with the rate of Italians moving into the country having increased by forty percent between the years 2005 and 2007.
Italians make up one of the largest European groups in the UAE. In September 2007, during a ceremony after being awarded the Italian Stella Re prize, the UAE minister for economy Sheikha Lubna Khalid Al Qasimi described the interest of the UAE government in boosting cultural and economic ties with Italy: "With thousands of expatriate Italians living in the UAE, our governments are continuing to actively promote bilateral investments and increase the opportunities for further cooperation between our two countries."
The community is structured through numerous social circles and organisations such as the Italian Cultural and Recreational Circle (now known as Cicer), the Italian Industry and Commerce Office (UAE) and the Italian Business Council Dubai. Social activities like outdoor excursions, gastronomy evenings, language courses, activities for children, exhibitions and concerts are frequent; there have been talks of setting up a permanent Italian cultural centre in Abu Dhabi which would act as a venue for activities.