WAM Abu Dhabi, July 9th, 2012 (WAM) -- Visitors to the UAE capital will now receive a booklet on good behaviour to ensure their safety and keep them on the right side of the law. The move is to prevent acts that threaten public decency caused by cultural differences and a perceived lack of awareness about the Emirati way of life, commented "Khaleej Times" in its today's editorial.
Cross-dressing, public display of affection and wearing skimpy outfits are among behavioural violations not in consonance with local traditions and values. The Abu Dhabi police, through these ethics guidelines, has stayed clear of the grey areas and has made it easier for visitors to have a good time by spelling out what's acceptable in the emirate and what is not. So risky behaviour is out and visitors are asked to shoulder some responsibility as Abu Dhabi draws more tourists from across the world to its cultural delights, history and sprawling beaches.
Last year, 2.1 million visitors stayed in the emirate's hotels and resorts, according to figures by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. The capital is diversifying its economy to in an effort reap the benefits from tourism and retail and away from its core oil sector. "But as tourist numbers surge, strains have appeared in a society swamped by expats who outnumber citizens. Complaints have increased about foreigners not respecting the laws of the land. Several cases of public indecency have been filed against visitors, who have pleaded ignorance about local customs", the paper added.
An online campaign in May for a dress code has grown louder and was discussed by the Federal National Council recently. A dress code may be going too far and potential tourists could turn wary about planning a trip to the UAE. In this context, the new guidelines appear to be a compromise solution, a preventive measure against obscene and rude actions, and a good one at that.
The brochure is being distributed at entry points to the emirate; and in hotels, at tourism operating companies and public places visited by tourists. It will be available in 12 languages. Tourists are warned to refrain from using drugs and other psychotropic substances as they run contrary to the law. Alcohol should be consumed only in designated areas and driving under the influence of alcohol is an offence, says the brochure.
"With the holy month of Ramadan approaching, there is also a section advising tourists against drinking and smoking in public during the fasting hours. It goes a step further and ask them to avoid carrying large amounts of cash and to ensure they can produce identification when asked by security officials. Ignorance can no longer be an excuse for those visiting the capital after the issuance of these guidelines. Abu Dhabi welcomes responsible tourists," the paper concluded.