Several tour operators expressed disappointment over the new decision by Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) as the move directly affects their business. North Tours, a company that has been hosting New Year parties for the last six years, decided to cancel its New Year party at a desert camp in Aweer following the circular issued by DTCM.
“We had over 800 bookings for our New Year party but it had to be cancelled following the new rule. This is going to affect our business but we have no other choice. We don’t want to be at the risk of being fined by the authorities,” said Suresh Kumar Laljee, Chairman, North Tours. He added: “Tour operators in the UAE are competing with other countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore who also host similar parties. People want to celebrate in style and this new rule will force them to change their plans and go elsewhere.”
With 28 different desert parties hosted in Dubai every year, the new decision will put an end to dancing and late night parties in desert camps during the New Year. Dubai Drums, a popular drumming get-together, initially announced its New Year party at a desert camp in Dubai but changed its venue following the announcement.
“I had two choices, either to cancel the event or find and alternative. Finally, we decided to move to a desert in Ras Al Khaimah because we had a lot of bookings from families that come every year and they have in turn invited their families from other countries,” said Julie-ann Odell, Managing Director, Dubai Drums.
Another tour operator said: “We are very disappointed because it is the peak season for us. There are lots of enquiries from people outside the UAE who want to enjoy the desert experience.” However, the regular desert safari tours can continue on the New Year day. Hotels in Dubai will continue with their New Year celebrations as they do not fall under any restrictions.
DTCM officials could not be reached for an official comment – KhaleejTimes