The UK wants to make sure its citizens are well behaved while soaking up the sun in the Gulf this holiday season.
A social-media campaign by British embassy staff in the United Arab Emirates this week is a play on the classic poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore and includes travel advice aimed at keeping people out of trouble.
It highlights potential cultural pitfalls through the eyes of a fictional traveller, Stu Nicholas. “No holding of hands or Christmas kisses; under the mistletoe, despite amorous wishes,” it warns.
It also cautions: “So time to go home after several spirits neat; but it’s a crime for Stu to be drunk on the street.”
The Emirates’ biggest and most cosmopolitan city, Dubai, has the most relaxed social codes in the conservative Gulf region, but foreigners occasionally run foul of strict decency laws and prohibitions on public intoxication.
British citizens have received jail terms after being found guilty of kissing in public and having drunken sex on the beach.
Other foreigners have been prosecuted for exchanging steamy text messages.
The poem is on Facebook and Twitter accounts operated by Britain’s diplomatic missions to the country.
About 100,000 British citizens live in the Emirates, and about a million visit each year, according to the embassies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.