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Has the financial crisis changed Ramadan for you in any way this year?

Has the financial crisis changed Ramadan for you in any way this year?

The results are out.

September 6, 2009 12:11 by

Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has just said that the UAE will overcome the financial crisis soon, and describing the crisis as “a passing cloud that will not stay longer despite pessimistic speculations and analyses by economists and financial experts.”

But in the meantime, the slowdown seems to be having an impact on Ramadan this year. While 15 percent of our respondents said that their iftar table is smaller this year because of the global recession, another 44 percent said that they have not been invited to many corporate iftars this year.

A recent report published in the Wall Street Journal claimed that the number of corporate iftars in Dubai have declined this year because of the effect of the global financial crisis. Firms in the city are cutting costs allocated to host events, and demand for Ramadan tents has fallen.

“Those companies that are still reserving tents are looking for some of the cheapest options,” Shakhil Ahmed, the owner of Sharjah-based Al Mumtaz Tents, which makes and rents Ramadan tents, told the paper. He also said that business had fallen by almost a quarter this year.

An event organizer told the paper that the cost for a company to hire an entire Ramadan tent for an evening at one of Dubai’s top hotels, including food, drinks and service is AED50,000 for up to 200 people.

According to reports, hotels in the city are also offering discounts up to 25 percent on iftars and suhoors in order to improve business.

Olivier Heuchenne, general manager of The Palace Hotel in Downtown Burj Dubai, told Maktoob Business that he expects bookings in the hotel to fall by 5 to 10 percent from last year.

“It is clear that companies are carefully watching their expenses with business events. Some established companies still aim to maintain high standards and are not focusing on lower prices, but ensuring they get true value for their money,” he added.

However, around 41 percent of our respondents feel that the financial crisis has nothing to with Ramadan, and that they are completely unrelated.

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