Western tourists holidaying in the United Arab Emirates should dress modestly in public and respect the UAE's strict indecency code, according to a twitter campaign launched by 23 year old Asma Al-Muhairi from Abu Dhabi. The @UAEDressCode twitter account was created after Al-Muhairi was shocked and disgusted by two western ladies dressed in skimpy shorts in a mall.
The campaign has won substantial support and the twitter account gained roughly 4000 followers in its first two weeks. Furthermore, the Federal National Council in the UAE has latched onto the movement, promising to press for stronger legal measures to enforce conservative dress in the UAE. As result, travellers to Abu Dhabi may be lawfully forced to cover up in the future; warnings and fines have been proposed as possibly penalties. Despite the fact shopping malls already have policies that encourage modest dress, few are publicised and enforced at present.
The UAE is a hotspot for British tourists and expatriates, with a staggering 90 per cent of the eight million people living in the UAE being foreigners. British holidaymakers are particularly attracted by the beaches, the exceptional shopping and the unfailing sun. However, in recent years there has been an increase in foreigners disrespecting the local customs. Britons should remember that public displays of affection and drinking alcohol, apart from in bars and nightclubs, are illegal.
Some westerners have displayed bitterness towards Al-Muhairi's arguments, stating that the UAE relies on tourism and that visitors have the right to feel comfortable and dress as they would at home. Trends show that most western travellers will wear their bikini and shorts despite Muslim customs, especially in the heat.
We advise British nationals holidaying in the UAE this summer, as well as other Muslim countries, to take account of and respect local customs, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan that starts on 20 June 2012. For more information on travelling during Ramadan see the easyvoyage.co.uk In Focus.
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