Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) recently unveiled the new desert tour and camp regulations.
As part of the initiative, Dubai Tourism has established benchmarks for all desert tour operators, including those managing outdoor, cultural and hospitality activities.
Operators will be evaluated on a number of categories including, visitor experience, health and safety, insurance coverage, marketing and advertising as well as transport and logistics. The new regulations will also focus on implementation of environmentally sustainable practices.
The new regulations will come into effect in three months’ time giving the industry a sufficient window to adopt the standards.
To bring desert tours on par with other adventure staples, Dubai Tourism will also facilitate collaboration between government departments and industry players. This will include increasing dialogue with agencies such as Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Municipality as well as Dubai Police and the Directorate of Civil Defence to ensure that booking agents, camp operators and drivers adhere to codes of conduct, safety regulations and quality standards. The move also allows operators to take ownership of gathering feedback from visitors on performance, with ample support from government entities.
Dubai Tourism will be complementing introduction of minimum standards with increased investment in upgrading infrastructure, including new regulations with regards to upkeep of facilities, e-Permit systems, simplify processes and an inspection system.
“Close to 20% of all tourists who visit Dubai include a desert experience as part of their agenda and desert-based activities have consistently ranked amongst the top ten must-do activities in Dubai. In order to elevate this experience and make it integral to the tourist agenda, we have established a rule book for operators that sets out targets, standards and best practices,” stated Khaled Bin Touq, executive director, Tourism Activities & Classification Sector.
Guest safety is specifically targeted in the new regulations, such as mandatory child car seat regulations, vehicle inspection criteria and provisions to ensure all in-car safety equipment is installed by approved vendors. In addition, all drivers must have completed their tour guide certification from Dubai Tourism, deliver mandatory safety briefings to guests and have all correct RTA licenses.