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Is it safe to travel to Dubai? Understanding the latest Foreign Office update

Photo of Jacob LewisPhoto of Jacob Lewis
By Jacob Lewis

17 January 20244 min read

An aerial view of the Dubai skyline full of skyscraper buildings on a clear blue day

In light of recent events in the Middle East, many travellers are seeking clarity on the safety of visiting Dubai on holiday. The destination is still considered safe but the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has issued updates that are crucial for potential tourists to consider.

In this explainer, we’ll answer your questions about travel to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, based on the most recent updates in the region.

What is the current FCDO advice for travel to Dubai?

As of the latest update, the FCDO does not advise against travel to Dubai. Despite ongoing tensions in the Middle East, including conflicts involving Israel and Hamas, and Houthi rebel attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea, Dubai remains largely unaffected.

However, travellers are advised to stay vigilant and monitor the situation closely, as circumstances can change rapidly. On October 29, 2023 the FCDO issued a warning that terror “attacks are likely” and on January 12 warned that travel advice for countries in the Middle East “could change at short notice”.

Has Dubai been directly affected by regional conflicts?

No, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have not been directly impacted by either the conflict between Israel and Hamas or Houthi rebel activities in Yemen. The region has remained stable, and daily life continues as usual.

What about the safety concerns in the UAE?

The FCDO acknowledges that while there is a threat of terrorism, Dubai is considered safe for tourists. Visitors are advised to be vigilant in public places and follow the advice of local authorities. This is a standard precaution for many travel destinations.

Can travel plans to Dubai be affected by regional military activities?

While the FCDO has not issued specific travel advisories for Dubai due to regional military activities, it's important for travellers to stay informed about the latest developments. Changes in travel advice can happen swiftly, so keeping up to date with news and FCDO updates is key. You can sign up for updates from the FCDO about travel to Dubai here.

What should I do if I have a holiday planned in Dubai?

If you have a holiday planned in Dubai, you should proceed as usual but stay informed about the latest FCDO advice. As there are no specific advisories against travel to Dubai, standard booking conditions apply, and usual policies for changes and cancellations are in effect.

What about travelling to other tourist destinations in the Middle East?

The FCDO update on January 12 also applied to Egypt, a well-known holiday destination, and the rising tourist destination of Oman, in the context of heightened military activity in the Red Sea region due to Houthi rebel attacks.

However, as with the UAE, the FCDO did not advise against travel to these countries. Travellers were instead cautioned to stay informed about potential changes in travel advice at short notice and to follow any relevant instructions from local authorities. The emphasis is on monitoring the situation closely due to the regional dynamics, rather than specific travel restrictions for Egypt, Oman, or the UAE.

What about Morocco and Tunisia?

As of the latest FCDO update, Morocco is considered safe for tourists, as is Tunisia, except for its remote border zones. Neither country was included in the FCDO’s latest January 12 update to stay informed about potential last-minute updates to military activity in the Middle East.

What if I want to cancel my holiday to Dubai?

Cancelling your holiday should be a last resort as you will likely not be entitled to a refund under current FCDO guidance. You could ask your holiday provider to change the destination of your holiday but they are under no obligation to offer an alternative destination.

If you still decide to cancel, check with your travel insurance and the terms of your bookings for refund or rescheduling options. Note that cancellations due to transportation strikes might not always be covered under standard travel insurance policies.

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