|14 January, 2020

Dubai waives off fee for setting up caravans on the beach

Al Sufouh beach is the only one in the emirate designated for camping activities

People take selfie as they enjoy the sunset on the beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, July 17, 2019. Picture taken July 17, 2019.

People take selfie as they enjoy the sunset on the beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, July 17, 2019. Picture taken July 17, 2019.

Reuters/ Hamad I Mohammed

Residents can now set up their caravans on a Dubai beach free of charge, the municipality has announced. This came following directives issued by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

Previously, they had to pay a Dh500 fee for securing a permit.

Dawood Al Hajri, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, said permits can be availed online on the civic body's website. "The move allows camping enthusiasts and caravan owners in the emirate to enjoy the beach atmosphere throughout the year, especially during the winter season."

Al Hajri noted Al Sufouh beach is the only one in the emirate designated for camping activities.

Caravan culture

When Khaleej Times visited the beach on Tuesday, we spotted 30 caravans parked there. Saudi national Fahad Sufayyan had travelled all the way from Dammam to camp here. He uses his four-wheel drive to tow his caravan to places across the Middle East. "I am a retired person. I came to Dubai alone in my caravan but met and made so many friends here of different nationalities."

Fahad said he was glad the Dubai government has waived off the fee for caravans. "I have extended my stay in Dubai by the beach and will stay for a few more days, especially with such a great weather here. This beach is so conveniently located that I can easily access the malls and all the city's attractions. My lodging is free now and I think this considerate move will help Dubai attract more tourists."

His caravan has everything from a bed to washroom, in Dubai have bigger caravans that cost between Dh200,000 and Dh300,000."

Another tourist from Saudi Arabia, Hamdan Hussain Alkatheeri, came to Dubai to enjoy the good weather with a couple of his friends in his mid-sized caravan. "This is the first time I came to the Sufouh beach and it's absolutely beautiful. I will be staying here for a week and want to thank the generous government of Dubai for making our stay more pleasant by cancelling out the Dh500 fee. What more can one ask for, than living by a beautiful beach for free!"

Abu Dhabi resident Hamad Al Hammadi said he comes to Al Sufouh beach almost every second weekend in his caravan. He was staying in his mid-sized caravan at the Al Sufouh beach with his family.

"We are thrilled about the news and have been informing all our family and friends to make use of this opportunity. I hope people respect the country for being so considerate and respond positively by ensuring that they keep the beach clean. Also, I am sure the government will gradually add more facilities for caravans here. "We now get a free vacation in Dubai!"

saman@khaleejtimes.com

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