Dubai v the world: comparing average tipping prices for travellers

While tipping is not compulsory in the emirate, British tourists still reward good service
Dubai v the world: comparing average tipping prices for travellers
While 41.3 percent of respondents said they thought of it was compulsory to tip waiting staff in a restaurant in the United States, this fell to around 8 percent in relation to Dubai, with 10 percent saying they would never tip in a restaurant in the emirate.
By Shane McGinley
Sun 26 May 2019 12:55 PM

Around 8 percent of British travellers believe it is compulsory to leave a tip for waiting staff as part of a bill at a restaurant in Dubai, with an average of AED17.84 (£3.82) seen as reasonable on a meal valued at around £30, according to a survey released late last week.

Travel portal Big Domain surveyed British travellers’ perceptions of tipping culture in a number of popular global tourist locations.

While 41.3 percent of respondents said they thought of it was compulsory to tip waiting staff in a restaurant in the United States, this fell to around 8 percent in relation to Dubai, with 10 percent saying they would never tip in a restaurant in the emirate.

When asked how much of a tip they would expect on average for a meal worth £30 ($38.13), respondents said an average of AED17.84 ($4.85) in Dubai was acceptable, compared to $6.80 in the US, €3.42 ($3.83) in Spain and AUS$5.45 ($2.36) in Australia.

On its official website, Visit Dubai outlines a guide to tipping in Dubai for travellers: “The short answer is, there are no rules when it comes to tipping in Dubai. How much you tip varies from profession to profession and is also largely down to personal preference. It is customary to tip in most cases, but it certainly isn’t compulsory,” it says.

At restaurants, a service charge of 10 percent is typically added as part of the bill, but Visit Dubai says “a figure between 10 and 15 percent is customary, but this is dependent on the quality of service. Often rounding up to the nearest figure in your bill could suffice”.

For taxi drivers, hotel and supermarket bag packing staff, the website recommends “a small tip of AED5-10… but generally passengers will just round the fare up to the nearest note and allow the driver to keep the change”.

A survey of 250 UAE resident in 2017 by online portal ServiceMarket found that 49 percent of respondents said they always tip.

As part of its study, Big Domain looked at how much was appropriate to tip in different countries to various different employees a visitor may come into contact with while travelling:

Hotel porter:

Dubai: AED5-10 ($1.36 – $2.72)
Spain: €1 ($1.12) per night
Croatia: 15 to 20 KN ($2.26 - $3.01)
Cyprus: €1 ($1.12) per bag
USA: $2 - $3 per bag
Greece: €1 - €2 ($1.12 - $2.24)
Italy: €5 ($5.60)
Thailand: 20 Baht ($0.62) per bag
Portugal: €1 - €2 ($1.12 - $2.24) per bag
Australia: AUS$1-2 ($0.69 - $1.38)

Hotel maid:

Dubai: AED20-30 ($5.44 - $8.16) for total stay
Spain: €1 - €5 ($1.12 - $5.60) per night
Croatia: 15 to 20 Kuna ($2.26 - $3.01)
Cyprus: €1 - €2 ($1.12 - $2.24) per night
USA: $2 - $5 per night
Greece: €1 ($1.12 - $5.60) per night
Italy: €0.50 - €1.50 ($0.56 - $1.68) per day
Thailand: 50 Baht ($1.57) per night
Portugal: €1 ($1.12) per night
Australia: AUS$5 ($3.46) for total stay

Taxi driver:

Dubai: Round up to nearest AED5 ($1.36)
Spain: 5% of fare
Croatia: Round up to nearest Kuna
Cyprus: Round up to nearest Euro
USA: 15-20% of fare
Greece: 5-10% of fare
Italy: Round up to nearest Euro
Thailand: Round up to nearest Baht
Portugal: 10% of fare
Australia: Round up to nearest AUS$

Bar staff:

Dubai: Not generally expected
Spain: €0.20 ($0.22) per drink
Croatia: Round up to nearest Kuna
Cyprus: Not generally expected
USA: $1 per drink
Greece: Round up to nearest Euro
Italy: Round up to nearest Euro
Thailand: Round up to nearest Baht
Portugal: Round up to nearest Euro
Australia: Not generally expected

Tour guide:

Dubai: Not generally expected
Spain: €5 ($5.60) for half day, €10 ($11.20) for full day
Croatia: 10-15 Kuna ($1.50 - $2.26) per person
Cyprus: 10% of the tour price
USA: 10-15% of the tour price
Greece: €2 - €5 ($2.24 - $5.60) per person per tour
Italy: €5 ($5.60) for half day or €10 ($11.20) for full day
Thailand: 150 Baht ($4.71) for half day or 300 Baht ($9.42) for full day
Portugal: €5 ($5.60) for half day or €10 ($11.20) for full day
Australia: AUS$10 ($6.92) per couple

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