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Is It Safe to Visit Dubai? Latest Travel Advice

Everything you need to know about travel to Dubai, amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war

Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the UAE, attracts thousands of heat-seeking British holidaymakers in autumn and winter. 

However, following the outbreak of war in Israel and Gaza, some people may be concerned about the safety of travelling to the Middle East right now. 

As the crow flies, Dubai is more than 1,200 miles from Israel. To put that into perspective: parts of Italy are closer to the conflict zone. Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, where holidays are happening as usual, is just over 100 miles away from Israel.

However, flights to Dubai may need to take alternative flight paths due to the conflict, and the Foreign Office does have advisories regarding terrorism in the UAE.

Here’s everything you need to know about travel to Dubai and the rest of the UAE, whether it is safe to visit, and your rights if you do decide to cancel your upcoming holiday.

Is the UAE impacted by the Hamas–Israel conflict?

To date, the UAE has not been impacted by the conflict.

On October 8, the UAE foreign ministry described the attacks carried out by Hamas on Israel as a “serious and grave escalation.”

“Civilians on both sides must always have full protection under international humanitarian law and must never be a target of conflict,” the ministry added.

Does the Foreign Office warn against travel to Dubai?

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has not issued any specific travel advisories for Dubai or the rest of the UAE since Hamas launched an attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.

However, the FCDO does have some separate advice for holidaymakers in Dubai. 

“Events in the Middle East can affect local public opinion. Follow news reports and be alert to local and regional developments, which might trigger public disturbances,” the FCDO advises.

The FCDO also warns about the potential risk of terrorism in the UAE: “Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in the UAE. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

“Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. These include references to attacks on western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests as well as crowded places, including restaurants, hotels, beaches, shopping centres and mosques. You should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places and at public events,” the FCDO advises.

Traditional abra water taxi boats on the Dubai Creek in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
THE FCDO advises to ‘maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places and at public events’ CREDIT: Moment RF/Getty

Are flights still operating?

Yes, flights are still operating to Dubai. It is likely that any airlines travelling from the UK to the UAE will take appropriate precautions to avoid Israeli airspace, routing instead over Egypt. 

What if I want to cancel my holiday?

If you have booked a package holiday to Dubai, Abu Dhabi or anywhere else in the UAE and want to cancel your trip for any reason, contact your tour operator and they might offer flexibility with alternative dates. 

But bear in mind that, because the Foreign Office has not issued any advice against travel to the UAE,  there is no guarantee you will receive a refund, nor will you be able to claim money back with your travel insurance company.

If you have booked flights and accommodation independently, and wish to cancel your holiday, contact your travel providers as soon as possible to see if you can rearrange your plans. Note, however, that given the circumstances, it is unlikely you will receive a full refund.

Source : The Telegraph