Good coverage of this issue from The National:
Tourism experts say that a recent spate of court cases concerning the photography of tourist attractions could be detrimental to the capital’s tourism industry in the long run. “Repeated exposure of such incidents in international media may lead to a negative image,” said Ines Zahouani, a marketing manager for Big Bus Tours. “You don’t want to scare people and give them the feeling that they constantly have to worry about what they do or say. It’s not something tourists want to be worried about when they’re on vacation.”
Recent court cases – such as the two Bangledishi men who were taken to court and fined for taking pictures of the Yas Marina Circuit and the Iranian tourist who was sentenced to a month in prison for taking photos of the Presidential Palace – have highlighted the need for clearer policies on taking photographs in the capital. A Lebanese man was also arrested, and later acquitted, because his photo of the Capital Gate included part of a nearby embassy.
The reporter goes on to interview tourism experts who point out the obvious — arresting tourists for taking photos is bad for tourism.
Hopefully this coverage will help the government take this issue seriously and result in some clear guidelines and signage so that more tourists aren’t snared in this trap.
The National (which is ultimately owned by the government) should be lauded for doing some good journalism here. They often tackle issues that some would think are “too sensitive” to be discussed. The UAE doesn’t have complete press freedom — not by a longshot — but I’m often impressed by how far the reporters at The National can stretch the boundaries.