Beyond Green Travel with Costas Christ Dubai's New Guidelines Restrict Dancing, Kissing, Handholding
Text by Global Travel Editor Costas Christ
Last week, Dubai issued new behavior guidelines for travelers. Since one of the tenants of sustainable tourism is to be respectful of the local culture, this announcement got me thinking about what happens when the local culture tells tourists to respect their way of life, a way of life that the tourists might consider offensive or even morally wrong. Dubai now has told visitors that dancing or playing loud music in public will be banned. Travelers on holiday, or even a couple on their honeymoon, who kiss or hug each other in public—even just momentarily—could face fines and detention. The new rules, which also include no wearing of short skirts or skimpy shorts in public (keep in mind that Dubai is one of the world's top tourism destinations with beaches and luxury resorts), have been issued for visitors "to respect Dubai's culture and values."
In many places around the world, tourists have been known to act disrespectful to the local way of life, seeming not to understand that they are guests in another country. Last year in Dubai, a British couple were arrested and convicted after having sex on a beach. The new behavior guidelines now make it clear that you might be arrested and detained even if you are just holding hands. Sustainable tourism advocates that a country or cultural community should set the rules that tourists must follow to be respectful to the values of the local people, even if visitors do not agree with some or even all of those values.
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