Dubai and FCO bid to counter negative headlines

Dubai and FCO bid to counter negative headlines

Dubai Tourism has launched a pioneering information campaign with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as it looks to dispel the many myths about the destination.

The UK tourism and marketing board has produced a tailored consumer-facing “Know Before You Go” campaign, which will be promoted through its tour operator, hotel and travel agent partners.

It seeks to offer potential visitors practical advice about visiting the Emirate in a positive light highlighting what there is to do in Dubai rather than warning what visitors should avoid.

The move follows a series of headlines in the UK press about incidents in Dubai involving British visitors which the tourism board says were either misreported or blown out of proportion.

And the campaign comes as Dubai is about to launch two-pronged research campaign with both consumers and the trade to try to find out why people do not want to go to Dubai.



Ian Scott, UK and Ireland director of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said the FCO campaign was similar to one run for South Africa during the recent Fifa World Cup.

However, he said it was the first time a destination has worked with the FCO on such a long-term initiative and he hoped it will address any concerns people have about Dubai.

“Basically ourselves and the FCO want the same thing; we want people to go to Dubai, enjoy all it has to offer and not have any problems.

“This addresses all the issue that have been thrown up in the consumer press over the last few years, but presented in a more consumer-friendly tone of voice than the advice on the FCO site.

“The reality is Dubai has among the lowest  crime rates in the world and that’s because of its zero tolerance approach. More than 800,000 Brits go there every year without a problem.

“As a tourist the advantage of Dubai is its one of the cleanest, safest places you can go, there’s no graffiti and no disorderly behaviour on the streets.”

Scott said the truth behind many recent stories has never come out and that holidaymakers can do all the things they would expect to be able to in Dubai but have to be respectful in public areas.

The FCO campaign, which is available online and as a downloadable pdf, goes through a number of areas of potential concern with sections all starting with the world ‘DO’, like ‘Do enjoy and drink and a dance’.

It address issues like alcohol, local customs and traditions, dress, medication, behaviour in public, and the holy celebration of Ramadam.

Scott said, despite the stories that have appeared in the British press about holidaymakers being arrested for kissing in public or other seemingly innocuous behaviour, Dubai was a very tolerant place.

“If anyone has fallen foul of the laws in Dubai it either because they have failed on the respect or the modesty customs expected and it could be they did not know before they went,” Scott said.

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