Playing loud music, dancing, nudity, kissing and even holding hands in public is considered inapproppriate behaviour under new guidelines laid down by the authorities of Dubai, reports say.
Arabic-language daily Al Emarat Al-Youm said the Dubai Executive Council had urged residents of Dubai, where foreigners make up more than 80 per cent of the population, to respect the customs of the Muslim majority country and avoid inappropriate behaviour.
The rules, which apply to all public places, include a ban on all forms of nudity, playing music loudly and dancing, exchange of kisses between men and women -- and even on unmarried couples holding hands.
Any breach of the guidelines, by nationals or expatriates, carries a possible prison penalty, the paper said.
The guidelines also stipulate that anyone caught under the influence of alcohol -- even small amounts -- outside designated drinking areas is liable to being fined or imprisoned, the paper added.
Dubai, a member of the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates, has a diverse culture as it is home to a foreign population made up mainly of low-skilled workers from Asia and Western professionals.
Unlike most of its neighbours in the conservative Gulf region, the emirate tolerates a relatively relaxed dress code and hosts dozens of hotels that have bars and clubs, where alcohol is legally served.
Whatever the fate of the proposed instructions, it's highly unlikely any crackdown could spill over to Dubai's many resorts and nightclubs, where booze flows freely and the attire is the same as any tropical vacation spot.
For now, the rules appear aimed at one of Dubai's main tourist draws: the mega-malls that serve as full-service entertainment hubs and where already, signs encourage shoppers to respect local customs and keep hem lines sensible and T-shirts from getting too skimpy.
The signs were mostly ignored without any serious fallout. The new rules could reflect authorities finally pushing back.
The front-page newspaper story said Dubai's Executive Office, which directs the emirate's ambitious development plans, issued the guidelines for "all citizens, residents and visitors ... while in the emirate ... to respect its culture and values."
According to the daily, "pants and skirts are to be of an appropriate length" and "clothing cannot be tight or transparent" with visible body parts. On the beaches "appropriate swimwear, acceptable to the culture of the society and its values" must be worn.
Dubai's indigenous population fears the city's culture is tipping in favour of foreigners. Emiratis account to up to 20 per cent of a population dominated by Asian migrant workers, Western expats and sun-seeking tourists.
Some local leaders have demanded the government act to preserve religious values and tribal traditions.
After the sex-on-the-beach trial, the prominent Jumeirah Group five-star hotel chain issued an advisory for Western tourists.
It cautioned guests that drunken behavior in public is punished severely and recommended tourists be discreet with public displays of affection.
Anything more than a "peck on the cheek could offend those around you and even possibly lead to police involvement," the advisory said.