Dubai Police have launched a campaign aimed at reminding cruise tourists about local culture, laws and services offered in the emirate.
The campaign comes as Dubai gears up to almost double the total number of cruise visitors to the city in the next three years, with the Middle East on track to become one of the world’s top fifteen cruise destinations by 2020.
“We shall run this campaign in a way that depicts our civility,” said the Director of Tourism Police, Lt Col Dr Mubarak Saeed Salem Bin Nawwas during a press conference at Dubai Cruise Terminal.
He emphasised that the campaign was not about scaring or lecturing cruise tourists, but rather aimed at helping them be ‘mindful’ of local customs.
The somewhat awkwardly worded ‘Happiness of Civilisations in the UAE’ campaign will feature competitions for disembarking passengers where their level of awareness of local culture can be put to the test, with gifts awarded to the winners.
Officials said the aim was to educate, but also maintain a fun and hospitable approach for cruise guests in the city.
Dubai Police will also parade its fleet of supercars “which tourists are very fond of photographing”, said Nawwas.
Other strategic partners in the campaign are the Criminal Investigations Department (CID); the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM); the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and the Department of Economic Development (DED).
The campaign is much-needed for the Middle East cruise sector in particular because of the unique nature of the industry. An Italian, American or British cruise ship calling in Dubai or any other Middle Eastern port is essentially a floating extension of the ship’s home country.
The moment one steps aboard a Costa, Royal Caribbean or Thomson cruise ship, you feel as though you are in Italy, the US or UK and the customs of those countries prevail on-board, creating the potential for misunderstandings of what is allowed when passengers go ashore.
What is surprising is that the campaign is being rolled out in Dubai, a city that is by far the most Western and liberal of all destinations in the region.