Dubai is a favourite holiday spot for many Britons but tourists need to make sure they behave appropriately. What might be acceptable in the UK could get holidaymakers into trouble abroad. The UAE – to which Dubai belongs – has very different customs to western countries. It can be a good idea to research your destination in advance and follow travel advice to make sure you don’t inadvertently break any rules.
Dubai holidays: Why blowing your nose could cause serious offence in the UAE
One area that could confuse Britons in Dubai is table manners – as they differ to UK etiquette.
Saudi Arabia-based online travel platform Almosafer has shared one way in particular which Britons could accidentally insult others.
You should never blow your nose while eating at the table as this is considered very poor manners.
“Don’t blow your nose at the table but you’re more than welcome to have a good pick at your teeth,” an Almosafer spokeswoman told Express.co.uk.
“In the west, it’s generally considered to be more polite to blow your nose than to sit continually sniffing in other people’s company.
“However, in some countries, it is considered to be highly offensive and bad mannered.
“If you’re dining and need to clear your nasal passages, try to excuse yourself and go to a restroom.
“Worst-case scenario: make an exaggerated effort to steer away from the table.”
However, table etiquette does not just stop there, you should also only eat with your right hand as the left is considered dirty in Dubai.
“When eating never eat or handle food with your left hand,” said Almosafer.
“Keep your left hand at your side. Do not place your left hand on the table, and do not pass food with your left hand. The solution? Attempt to be ambidextrous.”
It’s also considered rude to stretch your legs out while sitting down during a meal – tuck them in instead.
However, tourists in Dubai should also avoid crossing their legs as it is disrespectful.
“Showing the soles of your shoes or feet implies that you think the other person is ‘dirt,’ so Arabs prefer to keep their feet flat on the ground,” according to holiday company Travelbag.
Research by Travelbag showed that 70 per cent of the Britons they surveyed had no idea this was considered rude, emphasising the need to research ahead into local traditions before a holiday.
One act that could get you into serious trouble with the law is swearing in public – this is completely forbidden in Dubai and uttering the “F-word” in particular is a total no-no.
Saying “f***” is a crime in Dubai as the swear word “disgraces the honour or the modesty” of a person according to Article 373 of the UAE Penal Code. Consequently swearing in public in Dubai can land you in prison for up to a year.
There is also a huge fine for swearing, amounting to as high as Dhs 10,000 (£2,000)
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