Tipping culture in the UAE
How much should you tip? Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: What is the most appropriate amount to tip? Every time you receive good service at a restaurant, spa or even at the supermarket from a worker packing your groceries, this is a question that might pop up in your head.

Or perhaps you are one of the millions of people who visit Dubai every year, and are not sure if the tipping culture in the city is similar to what you are accustomed to ….

Dubai’s official tourism website – visitdubai.com – provides a handy guide to visitors on how they can navigate such social situations.

What is the culture of tipping?

As reported by Gulf News earlier, the culture of tipping – whether or not you should tip, and how much is appropriate – varies across the world. This culture becomes even more complex in countries like the UAE, which are home to various nationalities.

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According to Visit Dubai, while there are no set rules on tipping and 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,” the website states.

Here is a ready reckoner shared by Visit Dubai, which you can refer to.

Hospitality staff

Waitstaff - 10 to 15 per cent is customary, but this is dependent on the quality of service. Rounding up to the nearest figure of your bill could also suffice.

Spa and salon therapists – Dh5 or 10 to 15 per cent of the treatment value, depending on how big or small the treatment was.

Bellboys and valet drivers – Dh5 or more if your luggage is heavier or if you have a lot of suitcases.

Concierges - Unlike in some countries, it is not customary to tip concierges in hotels in Dubai. They will be happy to make suggestions and assist you with your bookings without any extra renumeration.

Tours and transport

Taxi drivers - Dh5 to 10, or rounding up to the nearest figure.

Tour guides - Visit Dubai states: “After enjoying a well-organised, informative tour of the city, or after the completion of a desert safari, you can certainly show your appreciation to the driver and/or guide. Although some nationalities tip 20 per cent of the total price or Dh100 for a full day's outing, anything you deem fair to show how much you enjoyed the trip will be well received.”

Airport porters - Dh5 to Dh10.

Yacht crews -  Five to 15 per cent of the base charter fee, depending on length of trip and the type of boat. Visit Dubai states: “Cash should usually be handed to the captain at the end of your voyage, as he will then distribute the money to his crew, some of whom might not be visible to you but nonetheless ensure you get the best possible service.”

Convenience services

Delivery drivers -  You can round up the bill, which will also ensure the driver does not have to find change. Delivery apps also offer a cashless option to tip your delivery driver.

Supermarket packer - For packing your groceries, you can tip the packer with small change. If they help carry your bags to the car, you can give them Dh5 to Dh10 more.