SAUDI ARABIA

Tent owners charge SR2,700 for a night in Riyadh’s desert

December 31, 2018



With the arrival of winter, tent owners charge up to SR2,700 a night for camping in the Thumama desert. — Al-Watan photo
With the arrival of winter, tent owners charge up to SR2,700 a night for camping in the Thumama desert. — Al-Watan photo

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH —
When the weather gets cold, people in Riyadh tend to spend most of their time outside the city in camps in desert areas, including the famous Al-Thumama.

The desert is nothing but an empty stretch of sand with no infrastructure for entertainment installed, but people of Riyadh consider it the best place to hang out away from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend quality time with friends and family members.

Thousands of ready-made camps are set up in the area to rent out. Owners of these camps demand up to SR2,700 for a day especially on the weekends.

Al-Watan daily visited Al-Thumama, which started to become crowded with people around weeks ago after many days of rain and when the weather turned cool.

People described the rent prices as crazy. On weekdays, the prices of camps can go down to SR1,000 per day. Some camp owners are renting at SR100 an hour.

All these camps look the same when it comes to design. They are in a square shape and they use the traditional tent fabric for walls that separate camps from each other and to create privacy.

These camps sometimes have sitting rooms inside, in addition to the sitting area outside. They also have a fire place ready, in addition to kitchen appliances for cooking, satellite TV with special sport channels to attract the youth, and children's games to attract families.

The camps are fully equipped with bathrooms.

Some people took advantage of the lack of supervision by the authorities to set up illegal shops to sell supplies and food products to the campers.

Al-Watan talked to the tent owners for their comment on the high price of rent. They said they set up the tents on a 2,000 square meter area, which is considered a large space. They also invested a lot of money to turn these tents into a home friendly environment so families and youth will have a good time away from home.

They also invested money to set up small fields for playing football and volleyball.

Abdullah Al-Amri, Saudi citizen, said, "I was surprised to see that some of the tent owners are charging SR1,500 for one night on the weekend. I thought that it will be a VIP facility but most of them are ordinary tents that are lacking major things. I think the authorities should interfere and organize this market as many of these owners are taking advantage of these beautiful days to squeeze people. Most of those who are controlling this market are expats from three main nationalities. They are the ones who are supervising the rental and guarding of these places."

Other people called on the authorities to plant trees in these picnic areas or at least force people who erect the camps for rental to take care of the environment.


December 31, 2018
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