The 'right' regulation is required

Authorities should clamp down on substandard services

People's experience of the DMCs in Dubai should be monitored [Getty Images].
People's experience of the DMCs in Dubai should be monitored [Getty Images].

Authorities should clamp down on substandard services.

A few years ago a group of friends came to visit me for a holiday in Dubai. One of the things they were most excited about doing was taking a trip out into the desert, so I booked us all onto a desert safari experience with the first tour operator I found advertised - for what I thought at the time to be an extremely good value price.

We soon found out that there was a reason behind this ‘great value’. The tour operator sent a driver to pick us up; who it later turned out had only arrived in Dubai two days before, didn’t speak a word of English and had no idea how to find us.

He got completely lost trying to get to the pick up point. We waited for him for hours in a sweltering car park, getting increasingly more frustrated, and by the time he finally did arrive, the sun had already set, completely writing off any possibility of our promised ‘sunset photo-op in the dunes’ moment.

From then on the whole experience only got worse. To make up for being so late, we sped off into the desert breaking every speed limit under the sun. The driver took the highway straight to the desert camp as we “didn’t have time to do dune bashing” (probably a good thing having witnessed his driving ability). The food was terrible and the camp was dirty.

It was definately not the romantic desert adventure that my friends had been so excited about, and sadly they left their Dubai holiday with a bad taste in their mouths.

Its companies like these, operating substandard services at cut-prices that are putting Dubai’s tourism industry in a really bad light.

Meanwhile, there are established DMCs that invest millions in their operations, facilities, their staff training and in promotion of the destination overseas that say its getting harder and more expensive to carry out their business thanks to endless painful rules and regulations such as the latest Dubai Airport one which forces them to pay a hefty fee to have their own tour groups met at the airport.

Clearly there is a serious need for regulation in the industry. But why don’t the authorities start by clamping down on those companies that are not even meeting basic industry standards, and manage to get away with providing a completely unnacceptable service which only succeeds in turning away tourists; instead of trying to squeeze every penny out of those who have worked hard to build Dubai into the destination it is today.

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