Timing is everything: rocky start for UAE cultural tour
Earth Cultures is hoping UK tourists will finally opt for a more cultural vacation in Dubai this Ramadan. But nobody’s buying…yet.
June 19, 2011 1:57 by Precious de Leon
Fancy a visit to a city in 54-degree heat at a time when eating and drinking in public becomes a tricky tourist situation?
Well, UK travel agency Earth Cultures hopes you do. They’ve just launched tour packages of Dubai during Ramadan. An interesting concept for Kipp to wish the tours would be made available to residents, as well. Those who’ve been in Dubai long enough would agree that there are more than a few residents who remain uneducated about UAE culture.
The company’s six and eight-day tours include areas in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi, with guests staying at the four-star Qamardeen hotel in Dubai’s Downtown Burj Khalifa area, according to an article on The National.
Stops include the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, a number of souqs, as well as iftars and a cultural awareness session hosted by an Emirati. On one of the days, the programme even includes an iftar with a sheikh and his family at his home in Ajman—Kipp’s personal favourite.
The tour is designed to give tourists a different view of Dubai—away from the glamour and mostly Westernised version of the country, according to The National article.
Fasting is optional and the tours are priced between £1,299 (Dh7,728) and £1,699, excluding flights.
Although Kipp thinks this is a step in the right direction, perhaps the timing may not have been so fortuitous. This year, Ramadan falls on the whole month of August—one of the hottest months of the year (too hot in fact that even the local and residents flee the country to seek cooler climates for, er, fasting).
While the Ramadan angle could help boost low hotel occupancy during this season, looks like Earth Cultures would be better off foregoing of the ‘Ramadan’ theme and just promote the packages as a year-round tour.
Considering the price, the time of the month, and the growing number of staycationers in the UAE, if you are resident, would you go for this experience? Or would you recommend this package to visitors? And if you’re a potential tourist, would you consider this package?