Dubai Tourism UK director Ian Scott has slammed Foreign Office advice about customs in the emirate.
Last week the FCO issued guidance to tourists that covered topics including dancing, holding hands and sharing a room if not married. It said the advice was designed to keep Brits out of jail.
But Scott was appalled by the advice and branded much of it as “simply inaccurate”.
“This has created a lot of unnecessary concern among people planning to go to Dubai,” he said.
“Dancing, holding hands and sharing rooms, married or not, are common practice in Dubai and will not lead to arrest. I am bemused as to why they have presented this advice.”
Scott admitted the advice was accurate in stating there is zero tolerance for drugs, drink-driving and aggressive behaviour, but considered that a positive for British tourists.
“If people want to take drugs, drink-drive or be aggressive on holiday they should definitely not come to Dubai.
“It is an Islamic country and tourists do need to have a healthy respect for local culture and laws as they would visiting any other country in the world.
“But to say people can’t hold hands, dance or share rooms is nonsense.”
Scott believes the advice could be unnecessarily damaging to the Dubai economy and urged the FCO to consult with tourist boards before releasing this sort of advice.
“I would be very happy to talk to them to make sure their advice is based on facts in the future,” he added.
Last week, the FCO was criticised by Thailand’s tourism minister Chompol Silapa-Archa.
He felt a travel advisory warning against travel to the entire country due to political riots was overzealous, as he said clashes had occurred only in Bangkok.
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