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Traffic tourism


Last updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 12:46 AM

Khalaf Al-Harbi
Okaz newspaper

According to a local daily, the Dubai Tourism Authority (DTA) is considering cautioning Saudi tourists on the traffic rules and regulations of the United Arab Emirates following the numerous violations some Saudi motorists have committed including concealing their cars’ number plates.

Director of business tourism in Dubai Hamad Bin Muqrin said the authority was considering sending text messages on traffic rules in the UAE to Saudi tourists on their mobile phones the moment they land in the country. The newspaper said the move came after the Saudi Embassy had intervened several times to settle traffic fines on a number of Saudis who came by land to the country and some of them were fined for concealing the vehicle license plates to avoid being tracked down by the radar for speeding.

Saudis do not lack knowledge of the traffic rules. They are the same rules which exist in Saudi Arabia, Siberia, Brazil and other countries. They are only fond of violating these rules whenever they have an opportunity! Can you imagine that from millions of tourists who visit Dubai every year, the DTA would choose only the Saudis to enlighten them about the UAE traffic rules, particularly since their number exceeded more than a million last year? Traffic violations rose up parallelly to the increase in their number and subsequently the involvement of the embassy to settle their pending violations.

I would like to assure the DTA that the warning SMS text messages will not change a thing. The Saudis are used to ignoring similar messages sent to them by Mr. Saher!! For this reason I suggest that DTA to use another method to market the issue. It should design special programs for the Saudis under the slogan: Traffic Tourism. The program should consist of renting a car to take the Saudi tourist on a city tour without violation of the traffic rules at any point.

The car should take the correct lane, stop at the red traffic light, respect the right of the pedestrians to cross the street and slow down whenever the traffic light changes to yellow.

At the end of the journey, a hostess from East Asia should present a glass of cold cocktail juice to the Saudi tourist before the arrival of a doctor who will administer him a complete medical examination to prove that the levels of blood sugar and hypertension are at their optimum. This will prove that breaking traffic laws does not actually help his health. It has just become part of his nature.

The Saudi Embassy in the UAE which has succeeded in lowering down the traffic fines for concealing the number plates from 20,000 dirham to 10,000 or 5,000 has to appoint a “traffic attaché” within its premises. The attaché will not only mediate on behalf of the violating tourists but will also study the reasons for such differences between two neighboring countries which are so similar except in the power of the traffic authorities to convince drivers to respect the traffic rules and regulations.

Talking about our traffic system, every one in our country is complaining about the traffic chaos to the extent that you tend to ask yourself: who is violating the rules then? Disrespect of the traffic rules in our country has reached a point where many motorists have become convinced that if they do not break the rules they will not be able to pass through the large number of violators.

Note: Local Viewpoints are translated from the Arabic press to bring current mainstream opinions published in Saudi media to a worldwide audience. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Saudi Gazette or of its team.
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