Tent operators in Dubai are capitalizing on the tradition of late-night Ramadan tents, leading some residents to complain over high prices, according to Gulf News.
During Ramadan, members of a community may meet in tents to socialize, read the Qu’ran or partake in the traditional pre-dawn meal. These days, the gatherings have become late-night hotspots, complete with VIP tables and air conditioning.
“It has become so difficult to keep up with our Ramadan tradition now,” said Dubai resident Ali Khalid. “I used to go to a Ramadan tent every evening last year, but it seems that everybody is out to maximize their profit at the expense of our enjoyment.”
Tent operators have leveraged the popularity of the tents by introducing minimum rates as well as cover charges and service fees. Many have pointed to increased competition, arguing that they have been forced to upgrade their services to set them apart from competitors.
Dima Ayed, food and beverage marketing manager for Madinat Jumeirah, said the resort’s Ramadan tent still gets lines of customers waiting for up to 20 minutes during peak hours, even after introducing a minimum charge of Dh75 (around USD$20).
Dubai resident Humaid Mansoor said that it has become normal to pay for social outings during Ramadan, and that he generally expects to spend more during that time. “But that doesn’t mean continuous price increases are justified,” he added.
Rami Shehadeh, managing director of IC Events, said there will always be a market for Ramadan tents, regardless of how expensive they become. Shehadeh recently introduced a VIP cover charge at one of the company’s tents. “We were filled to capacity from day one of Ramadan,” he said.