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Mon 2 May 2016 02:41 PM

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Dubai set to enforce new safety rules on desert tour experiences

Mandatory child car seat regulations, vehicle inspection criteria among new regulations to be brought in

Dubai set to enforce new safety rules on desert tour experiences

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has unveiled new Desert Tour & Camp Regulations aimed at further elevating the popular Dubai desert experience to best-in-class standards. 

As part of the initiative, Dubai Tourism has established quality benchmarks for all desert tour operators, including those managing outdoor, cultural and hospitality activities.

Operators will be evaluated on a number of categories including visitor experience, health and safety, insurance coverage, marketing and advertising as well as transport and logistics.

Guest safety is specifically targeted in the new regulations, such as mandatory child car seat regulations, vehicle inspection criteria and provisions to ensure all in-car safety equipment is installed by approved vendors. In addition, all drivers must have completed their tour guide certification from Dubai Tourism, deliver mandatory safety briefings to guests and have all correct RTA licences.

The new regulations, which will also focus on the implementation of environmentally sustainable practices, will come into effect in three months’ time giving the industry time to adopt the standards.

To bring desert tours on par with other adventure staples in the emirate, Dubai Tourism will also facilitate collaboration between government departments and industry players.

This will include increasing dialogue with agencies such as the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Municipality as well as Dubai Police and the Directorate of Civil Defence to ensure that booking agents, camp operators and drivers adhere to codes of conduct, safety regulations and quality standards.

Dubai Tourism said it will be complementing the introduction of minimum standards with increased investment in upgrading infrastructure, including new regulations with regards to the upkeep of facilities, e-Permit systems to streamline and simplify processes and an inspection system to keep tabs on offending drivers and operators. 

Khaled Bin Touq, executive director, Tourism Activities & Classification Sector, said: “Close to 20 percent of all tourists who visit Dubai include a desert experience as part of their agenda and desert-based activities have consistently ranked amongst the top ten must-do activities in Dubai.

"In order to elevate this signature experience and make it integral to the tourist agenda, we have established a rule book for operators that sets out targets, standards and best practices.”

He added: “Encouraging operators to scale up their investment and focus in these areas will feed into the overall aim to move desert adventures to the top five adventure activities in Dubai, which in turn will have a knock-on effect of bolstering Dubai’s overall reputation as an adventure hub with a distinct and diverse offering.”

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