RTA and Department of Tourism set stipulations for Desert Safari drivers

DUBAI: The Roads and Transport Authority, RTA, and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, have set key stipulations for safari drivers in the Emirate of Dubai obliging them to obtain the Desert Guide Permit from the Department of Tourism, which entitles them to apply for Safari Driving permits at the RTA.

Sultan Al Marzouki, Director of Drivers’ Licensing at the RTA Licensing Agency, said, “The RTA is always keen on issuing special permits for safari drivers after subjecting them to intensive training at one of our accredited institutes, afterwards they are tested on desert driving by RTA’s examiners to verify that they are competent of safe driving before being granted driving permits.

“The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has introduced a new prerequisite for obtaining the Desert Safari Driving License, by making it mandatory for applicants to obtain the Desert Guide in the first place. This Guide ensures that applicants have completed the required stipulations and attended intensive sessions aimed at furnishing them with the basic technical skills and practices as to how to deal and communicate with tourists and provide them with correct information about the UAE in general and Dubai in particular, in keeping with the global standing of Dubai,” added Al Marzouki.

Explaining the key documents required to issue the safari drivers permit, Al Marzouki said, “Each safari driver is required to submit a passport copy, an identity card, and a No Objection Certificate from the Department of Tourism in order to open a file and obtain the Desert Permit.” Ibrahim Yaqoot, CEO of Corporate Support Sector at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said, “Introducing and including the Desert Guide Permit as a pre-requisite to obtain the Safari Driving Permit is intended to raise the bar on the level of services offered by this segment to tourists in a way that fits well with the Department’s drive to leverage the services provided by the sector. The programme covers several topics such as familiarising trainees with the importance of tourism and highlighting the key role they play in depicting a positive image of Dubai as a tourist destination, in addition to presenting a helicopter view of tourism in Dubai, narrating basics of customers’ service, and how to achieve better customers’ satisfaction levels.

Elaborating the key documents required by the Department of Tourism from drivers, Yaqoot said, “Drivers hired by tourist companies to be engaged in safari driving are required to submit a number of documents to the Department including a No Objection Certificate from the sponsor, passport copy with valid residency, certificate of good conduct and knowledge of English language, besides completing a 5-day Tour Guide course and passing the final assessment. Successful participants are awarded permits that render them eligible to obtain the safari driving permits as per RTA requirements.”