Dubai holidays offer guaranteed sun, sea and sand, so it’s no surprise they’re well-loved by many Britons. However, how safe is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a travel destination? What is the latest travel advice? American authorities have issued a caution to their citizens and urge them to be careful due to “heightened tensions in the region.” The US Embassy and Consulate General in the Gulf state posted on Twitter yesterday: “US citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness.”
The travel warning comes following attacks by armed drones on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia – claimed to be carried out by the Houthis in Yemen.
The US Department of State said on its website: “Both historical and current information suggests that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Qaida, and affiliated organisations continue to plan attacks against Western targets.
“These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, including suicide operations, assassination, kidnapping, hijacking, and bombing.
“Rebel groups operating in Yemen have stated an intent to attack neighbouring countries, including the UAE, using missiles and unmanned aerial systems (drones).”
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not yet issued such a warning to Britons.
However, its existing travel advice does state: “Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in the UAE.
The FCO adds: “Claims have been made in public media suggesting that there may also be attempts to target missiles and unmanned aerial systems (drones) at the UAE.
“In the event of any incidents, you should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.”
The FCO also points out: “Around 1.5 million British nationals visit the UAE every year. Most visits are trouble-free.”
Britons heading to Dubai are also urged to be aware of the different customs in the UAE.
The FCO website states: “The UAE is a Muslim country. Laws and customs are very different from those in the UK.
“You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times.
“There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK.”
For instance, swearing in public is completely forbidden in Dubai and uttering the “F-word” in particular is a total no-no.
Saying “f***k” is a crime in Dubai as the swear word “disgraces the honour or the modesty” of a person according to Article 373 of the UAE Penal Code.
Consequently swearing in public in Dubai can land you in prison for up to a year. There is also a huge fine for swearing, amounting to as high as Dhs 10,000 (£2,000).