Dubai: The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned Britons visiting the UAE during Ramadan against showing any disrespect to local laws by eating, drinking or smoking in public view during daytime.
In an updated travel advice issued on July 21, the FCO said, "Do not eat, drink or smoke in public view during the daytime (including your car). This is considered highly disrespectful. It is also against the law and failure to comply could result in arrest."
Warning its citizens against dressing inappropriately, the FCO said, "Be careful about your dress during Ramadan. Skimpy clothes should not be worn at any time in the UAE, but during Ramadan, the standards may be policed even more carefully than usual."
"About one million British visitors come to the UAE every year. We want them to enjoy their stay and so it is important that they understand and respect the customs and laws in the UAE. This is particularly the case during the holy month of Ramadan," a spokesperson of the British Embassy in Dubai, said.
Guy Warrington, Consul General at the British Embassy, told XPRESS, "Being in the UAE during Ramadan provides the visitor with an excellent opportunity to experience one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar, and get a feel for UAE culture and customs."
No dancing or loud noise
The FCO advice further added: "Loud music and dancing is considered disrespectful during Ramadan. Please do not play music or dance in public areas".
The FCO noted that even with children, pregnant and nursing women, who are exempt from the provisions, "discretion should be exercised". The majority of eating and drinking establishments will be closed during daylight hours, although some coffee houses will function with screens to allow people to eat during the daytime, it said. "Driving may be more erratic than usual, particularly during the later afternoon and early evening, so be patient and show tolerance especially during this time," the FCO urged.
Meanwhile, a section of the British press quoted Sean Tipton from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) as saying, "We will be reminding ABTA members who sell trips to the UAE to signpost their customers to this [Foreign Office] information. However, whilst we fully understand and appreciate the importance of Ramadan, we would strongly recommend that the Dubai authorities practise these enforcement measures with a degree of sensitivity and discretion so as to avoid causing unwarranted distress to foreign visitors and the risk of significant damage to their tourist industry."