Dubai hotel group lays down guide for tourists visiting during Holy month
Jumeirah Group, operators of the iconic Burj al Arab hotel, said Sunday it plans to issue an etiquette guide to tourists visiting its hotels during Ramadan.
Tourists will receive guidelines outlining rules such as no eating or drinking in public between sunrise and sunset, in keeping with the laws of the UAE, the company said.
“Our general managers are placing letters in guests’ rooms, informing them about Ramadan etiquette,” a Jumeirah spokesperson told Arabian Business.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts also plans to prep guests visiting the Gulf states during the Holy month, said Christian Muhr, general manager of Hilton Dubai Jumeirah.
“We verbally inform guests during check-in and run them through the dos and don’ts and the general changes in local life during the Holy month,” he said.
“The welcome letter that we place in every room also provides the same information, so that guests can use it as a ready reckoner during their stay.”
Muhr said it had also given training to its staff “to make sure that the correct information regarding the Holy month is relayed to all our guests, should they approach them.”
The Holy Month of Ramadan is expected to start this year on August 1, with all Muslim adults expected to observe a fasting period during daylight hours.
Authorities in Dubai earlier this month warned of strict penalties for those caught eating in public between sunrise and sunset. Offenders can expect one warning before they risk arrest and a fine of up to AED2,000, said Colonel Jamal Al Jallaf, deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Department.
Dubai has received high-profile coverage in the British press in recent years, following a spate of arrests relating to crimes such as culturally inappropriate behaviour. Partly to blame may be a poor understanding of local laws, such as the consumption of alcohol without a licence.
The British Embassy said in 2009 that Brits were more likely to be arrested in the UAE than anywhere else in the world.
While guests visiting the Gulf during Ramadan are required to adhere to related laws during their stay, travel agents are not obliged to give tourists information on local laws.
A spokesperson for the American Society of Travel Agents said tourists travelling to the Middle East during Ramadan would not be advised of local etiquette during the Holy month.
Leo Fewtrell, general manager of Dubai Travel & Tour Agents Group (DTTAG) said local hotels were doing enough to inform guests of the rules during Ramadan.
“I honestly think they do [enough to inform guests]… I don’t think anyone coming out here not knowing about Ramadan has any excuse,” Fewtrell said.
“No hotel wants any poor report in the foreign press of its guests getting into trouble.”
A British expatriate was last week fined AED3,000 by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours for insulting Ramadan in a status update on Facebook.