UAE | General

Keep your tops on, Brit women warned

British holidaymakers have been warned they face serious consequences if they are caught sunbathing topless or behaving indecently in the UAE.

  • By Kevin Scott, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 22:44 June 16, 2009
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Gulf News
  • Jumeirah Beach Residence beach is packed with sunbathers as people enjoy themselves on the weekend.

Dubai: British holidaymakers have been warned they face serious consequences if they are caught sunbathing topless or behaving indecently in the UAE.

The advice, issued by the British Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Tuesday, follows numerous high profile cases of British travellers getting into trouble on foreign shores, including several in the UAE.

Click here to see a gallery of what's considered acceptable (and what isn't) in the UAE

The updated warning is part of the FCO's 'Know Before You Go' campaign, which was launched in 2001 to help keep Brits safe and healthy abroad. The new advice says "thousands of British tourists risk arrest by not checking local laws and customs before they bare all abroad".

Last year, a British couple gained worldwide notoriety when they were arrested for public indecency on Dubai's Jumeirah beach. They were given a three-month suspended jail term and then deported.

The couple had been drinking heavily at one of the city's Friday brunches prompting many hotels to remind guests of the etiquette expected at such events. Several malls have also started to hand out pamphlets reminding shoppers they should dress appropriately.

Simon Goldsmith, Second Secretary for Political and Media Affairs at the British Embassy in Dubai, said: "We want people to have an enjoyable and memorable visit to the UAE. The 'Know Before You Go' campaign helps people make informed decisions about issues such as local laws and customs; we commend it to anyone thinking of visiting the UAE.

"The British government has been running the 'Know Before You Go' campaign for a number of years now and it seems sensible to re-emphasise the main points now when the majority of British residents are thinking about taking their annual holidays."

New statistics released by the FCO yesterday show that 24 per cent of British women have sunbathed topless, one in 20 British men have admitted to 'mooning' or 'streaking' - exposing themselves in public - on holiday and over half of Britons travelling abroad have kissed in a public place.

The FCO has also released a hard-hitting commercial in the UK that urges holidaymakers to check out laws and customs on its website before travelling.

Jess Prasad, Manager of the FCO's 'Know Before You Go Campaign' said, "Different countries have different laws and customs, and what's acceptable in Spain may not be acceptable in Greece or Turkey. With more people travelling outside the euro zone this year it is ever more important that people familiarise themselves with the local laws and customs before they go."

Warning: Important advice

-In many destinations, including the UAE, wearing skirts above the knee is unacceptable behaviour that could lead to fines or official warnings.

- Making rude gestures is considered an obscene act can be (and have been) prosecuted

- Topless sunbathing is strictly forbidden and can result in prosecution or deportation.

- Kissing in public is an offence in the country.

Your comments

very good act has been taken.since i am her more then 1 year.i never been to jumerah beach only for such shameful.....
Posted: June 17, 2009, 18:17

good job UAE. The laws should have been applied before but it is not too late and came on the right time. It is not only awkward but it also have a very bad affect on children who are the future of Dubai. So good job
Posted: June 17, 2009, 18:06

i think this is nonsense...go to any of the malls in dubai, most women don't cover up. So please dont blame only the Brits
R. C.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 17:09

The message should be addressed to all specially Europeans they should know and respect the law of the land they are traveling it a very wise decision but the law should not only be restricted to beaches sometimes Europeans are found kissing in public areas which is also against the law of the country and appropriate action need to be taken against such cases.
Haroon Al Rashid
Posted: June 17, 2009, 16:53

We see signs everywhere which says how foreigners should wear and should look decent but sadly nothing changed and its actually worse !
Reem Omar
Posted: June 17, 2009, 16:21

At last - a great move by the UK Govt but it is all nationalities who should abide and NOT just UK tourists. I am a guest here and try to understand, appreciate and adhere to the country of my hosts. I find it embarrassing as a Brit to see the behaviour of my fellow countrymen and women when they do such things.
Mark Damian
Posted: June 17, 2009, 15:54

I agree that it is a good move to educate people of foreign traditions before they travel abroad. The FCO is doing a good job with the "Know Before You Go" campaign. However, I do not think it was necessary to revisit the case of the British couple in Dubai. Also, to point fingers at one nationality is entirely unjust as public indecency is common in other parts of the world, too. And for a headline to read, "Keep your tops on, Brit women warned", is terrible! It sounds extremely uncouth and portrays a shameful impression of the Brits.
R. K.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 12:17

I fail to understand why this is targeting Britons. Are they the only ones who sunbathe topless? I find it very discriminating! What about the rest of the world?
Ahmad Ala'a
Posted: June 17, 2009, 12:17

if the rules applies to muslims or indians,or any other country,it should b same for the britishers also,as a mark of respect to humanity.not only in jumeira beach but also in aqua parks.the topless dresses and kisses r common there too. so plz take actions against such acts.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 12:04

Wearing Skirt above the knee is becoming a formals now.. it's common in UAE...but end of the day everybody should respect the Law.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 11:52

As a citizen of Dubai, we Do welcome all the other cultures to visit us and travel here but of course they should respect the cultures of others, see As Paris is in Town, she too looking for Abaya... ;) So y cant others..i have noticed and got embarassed many times in malls especially. so ppl Do Respect.... :)
Posted: June 17, 2009, 11:49

I fail to understand brits and europeans, it is perfectly fine for them to say that when you come to our country such as UK, learn the language of UK and embed within their culture of britishness, why is it they tend to ignore the same rule they apply on us here when they visit my country UAE!!
Posted: June 17, 2009, 11:43

It is the duty of every individual to respect the law tradition and culture of other countries. Any person who lands on the soil of other country, should be well briefed in advance about every aspect of the culture and tradition of that counrty, so he/she will be aware of the code of their behaviour and not indulge in any misconduct which is offensive to the law of that country and therefore get in to all sorts of problems. It is our moral duty to do so.
Mohammad Zahir
Posted: June 17, 2009, 11:41

What is wrong with the pic? It was just depicting what the report claims, all in the eyes of the beholder, really. Sun bathing topless should not be allowed anywhere for that matter.
From A Reader
Posted: June 17, 2009, 11:27

The FCO is in right direction to all tourist not only British Nationals but other countries should advise to their citizen. You dont do here as the Romans do. You abide and respect local traditions and customs. Dont exceed limits so here is no fear.Enjoy the your stay.
Syed Shoostry
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2009, 10:47

It is good to let them know before they travel to UAE and the travellers should respect the law at any cost.
Mohammad Amjad Ali
Posted: June 17, 2009, 10:18

Good Move from the authorities, this kind of happening should be controlled. thanks to the authorites. Every body should follow the rules and regulations and should know the local rules.
Niyas K. Ali
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2009, 10:14

These acts are not acceptable , and yes , they should be stopped. UAE is trying the best and they are doing good. But last weekend when i went to jumeirah I saw atleast 2 couples kissing in the beach 1 women topless.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 10:02

The other countries should respect the laws in the country they are traveling and living in. I have seen many british women exposing in public places in Dubai....
Imran Salah Al Deen
Posted: June 17, 2009, 09:40

Not only Brit women, this should be a warning for all women
J. L.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 09:26

Please don't display such Pictures on the website!
Posted: June 17, 2009, 09:21

Why GulfNews is posting such photo....
Posted: June 17, 2009, 09:18

News can be published, however not necessarily with such photographs attached. It is because to view such photos is wrong. Therefore kindly remove such photographs.
F. F. M.
Ras Al Khaimah,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2009, 09:15

Wearing Skirt above the knee is becoming common in abu dhabi.
Mohammad Dilshad
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2009, 09:15

The tourists should be aware of the rules of the land and should obey them. No use if they cry for human rights once they are caught. Foreigners are already enjoying being in this country. But they should not think that they are above the law. If a westerner wears something in the public it is treated as gentle dressing, while another nationality might wear the same thing it might be considered as an offence..
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2009, 09:10

It would be good that they must know the rules and regulation or the Do and Dont's of the country before plan to travel. before i land U.A.E i go for 1 day seminar in our country about the Middle East so it would be easy for me...
Amyl Crouser
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:55

I am very much impressed by such act taken by the authorities in UAE. foreigners must know the laws and culture of a muslim world and they should respect it as well.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:45

To have a descent dress on your body somewhat shows the personality and decency of the person. If the person doesn't have that decency, at least, he/she should have to respect the others concepts of decency. Undoubtedly, this law is the need of this time.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:39

It is really Appreciable. Specillay for a Muslim country like U.A.E. Thanks a lot for the law implimentation.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:39

I think its very rude and Irresponsible for women sunbathing topless.every women should respect themselves.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:37

I honestly don't believe that people can be so ignorant as to visit a Muslim country and hope to get away with going topless at the beach. I think these are just arrogant people who feel they can get away with such behaviour. The authorities should arrest such arrogant people and keep them in jail for a while; maybe then they may learn to respect other people's cultures.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:29

Everybody should respect the laws in the country where they stay regardless they are from a country where kissing or topless sunbathing, etc are allowed. Tourists should be made aware of the laws in the country at the time of arriving to the country. Installation of warning boards on the beach can prevent the same to an extent.
Mohammad Ali C.P.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:10

Simple A B C. This rules were governed a long time ago. There's no reason that we are not aware of it. House rules! Just plain common sense.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:09

It is a good step from British government to educate their people how to respect other cultures.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:06

each indiviual needs to respect the law of each contry.
Ali Syed
Posted: June 17, 2009, 08:05

I am very pleased to read this article, That is Admirable step of Dubai authority to avoid such things from happening.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 07:58

good day everyone! i for one highly appreciate your advice followed by consequences one will suffer if found violating countries rule{uae} on decency especiall in public places.thats good!i salute on that.
Olympia G. Gelardino
Posted: June 17, 2009, 07:30

I am really surprised to read "wearing skirts above the knee is unacceptable behaviour that could lead to fines or official warnings".Are you really talking about UAE and Dubai? I request you to visit anyone the Malls in Dubai and confirm what you have wrote is correct.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 07:20

Nowadays this laws are good for UAE residents and people will beware for this matter.
Shahid Al Deen
Posted: June 17, 2009, 06:10

Nice but this should apply for americans also not only for brittish people.
Tauseef Rehman Khan
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2009, 04:16

I want to say one request to the foriegner "Please please wearing dress well... dont spoil the youngers" dressless is the behavior of animal not for humans... try to live as a human being...
Ziyav Al Deen
Posted: June 17, 2009, 04:08

Well, that's good news. Recently I've also visited Jumeriah beach with some friends and was shocked to see a foreigner down part of the body half showing! Where I've expected the authorities to look into these kinds of things. I've also witnessed other similar kinds of inappropriate things mentined above.
Yousuf S.
Posted: June 17, 2009, 02:12

It is sad to see such cases in a Muslim country like Dubai, not only in the beach but also in Malls,Cinema's dress up disrespectfully, the topic always comes up about dressing up decently but still people are seen half naked,this should stop,but i dont know when it will....
Posted: June 17, 2009, 02:01

im so happy that their r rules prevent foreigners from doing that,but i didn't notice any change in them,specially in shopping malls.there r ads and warnings but no one follow them!!
Marwa Hasania
Posted: June 17, 2009, 01:45

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