My wife and I recently went to a rather swanky restaurant in Dubai (as you do, when in Rome and all that jazz) to celebrate my wife’s birthday.

We had a nice romantic meal and enjoyed the Atmosphere (see what I did there), so when it came round to the time to settle our bill and be on our way, we felt we had received value for money. The reason for this was clear, we had been to a great venue, soaked up the surrounding environment, received a high standard  of service, and all in all enjoyed ourselves very much (lots of brownie points for me!)

I am sure most of you good people give a tip when you are in a restaurant, as we did prior to leaving.  As we descended in the lift I started thinking about how much people earn in the service industry, and how tips must really be a major part of their remuneration package and an encouraging factor, not to mention a good indicator of their service performance.

So my question is this: Why are we in the UAE so bad at tipping our dive guides and instructors?

I was staggered to learn how little some dive instructors earn, and even more surprised at how little they receive in tips in this part of the world. While I appreciate that there is a hippy love-of-the-job ideology, that we like to think applies to this area of the service industry, there are a number of factors to consider. Do these people take us to great dive sites, educate us, have fun with us, create lasting memories for us, and most importantly, keep us safe? Build into this equation the time and money instructors have had to spend getting all of their qualifications and experience, and you start to hit figures that are followed with lots of zeros.

Now I am sure many of you are saying something along the lines of “Tough, they chose their salty hammock so they can lay in it” (if you’re in the unsympathetic ship). To a point I would agree with you, and it amazes me that the scuba industry/society does not find more value in what these dedicated, tenacious, patient, role model educators do for us. These people really are worthy of a more sensible wage that matches the years of study they have dedicated to their craft. However the fact is, these guys are paid pretty poorly.

So if you are giving your dive guides a tip for their good service (and I recommend we only tip good service) then well done to you. If on the other hand, you do not believe in tipping these underwater hippies, who teach diving because they love it and could not hold down a proper job anyway, then ............SHAME ON YOU!!!

Jon F

Tipping The Balance