DUBAI: Citing the need for increased revenues and protection from brand erosion, Dubai tourism officials have announced that they will begin charging for visitors to take photographs of many of the city’s iconic landmarks.
Dubai Flashbacks, which is due to come into effect October 1, will see sentries posted at many sights and given authority to approach tourists and demand payment if they see them using their cameras.
“This is a natural step towards our consolidation of brand Dubai,” said Lara Chesterfield, head of the project. “By introducing Dubai Flashbacks, we can maintain the exclusivity and hauteur associated with our fine city and use the revenues to build and better landmarks. It will also force tourists to take better photographs of our beloved sights, rather than some of the badly-focussed rubbish that gets put up online.”
Since the announcement was made yesterday afternoon, airlines have claimed they’ve seen a surge in business, with tourists scrambling to visit before the tariff hits. “Our website was brought down last night under the weight of people trying to book tickets to Dubai,” said an executive for Air Ajman.
A rate card will be released next week with prices, with figures expected to range from AED50 per photo for eminent landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa to AED20 for more pedestrian attractions such as Ski Dubai. As always, tourists can purchase a bulk package at the airport.
While many residents have voiced their support of the policy, some have argued that they too should be compensated.
“Every time I step out of the mall, there are a handful of guys standing around my Bugatti posing,” claimed Wissam O’Hara. “Surely I deserve a cut too?”
Several tourist associations have complained that Dubai Flashbacks will simply make the city unaffordable, and will force tourists to visit other destinations instead, such as London or Monaco.
But Chesterfield insisted that the initiative is consistent with Dubai’s unique vision.
“Tourists come here and enjoy all this paradise has to offer,” she said. “But they must participate too. This isn’t Sharjah. They must pay.”