Business is booming for tent suppliers in the UAE during Ramadan as falling Covid-19 case numbers and the easing of safety restrictions pave the way for a return to larger gatherings.
Authorities reinstated iftar tents for the holy month this year for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The marquees were cancelled during the past two years to prevent large gatherings and limit the spread of the coronavirus.
But as infection rates continue to decline – from a peak of 3,000 in January to a 2022 low of 208 on Monday – confidence in the country's recovery strategy grows.
Tent companies are among those reaping the benefits as the UAE savours a welcome sense of normality for Ramadan.
“I would say we are witnessing a 50 per cent increase in demand since the beginning of Ramadan this year,” said Nassir Qinawi, from Al Nadir Tents in Sharjah.
He expects more events will be taking place at hotels or homes in the final 10 days of Ramadan.
“I believe the business will further increase towards the end of the holy month, with more people planning events or Iftars.”
He said rental costs could increase, however, as a result of the recent surge in petrol prices.
“We have to consider how fuel prices went up and how taking a tent to any location in the UAE means more expenses in terms of transport and workers,” he said.
Firm adapted during pandemic
Tents are widely used for iftars at hotels and are also typically erected next to mosques by charitable organisations to provide meals to low-income workers.
Al Faris Tents, which opened in Dubai in 2016 and has offices in Saudi Arabia, also reported an increase in Ramadan tent rentals.
“We began to feel the increase just as restrictions were eased,” said spokeswoman Diaa Al Awaysheh.
While tents are closely associated with grand iftar gatherings, companies were able to diversify when this revenue stream was cut off.
Al Faris played its part in the fight against the pandemic by providing materials for field hospitals, which were swiftly established at the height of the pandemic.
“A company’s ability to adapt to changes helps it further boost its business and this is what we did at Al Faris,” Ms Al Awaysheh said.
“We began working in the field hospital business setting up tents for that purpose.”
Ms Al Awaysheh believes that as case numbers continue to drop, work across all businesses will improve further.
Fellow tent rental company Hafla has enjoyed an encouraging start to Ramadan.
The company aims to provide tents for 1,000 events during the holy month, with 200 already secured.
“We began our online promotion campaigns on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube about 25 days ahead of Ramadan,’ said Nadine Mokbel, head of marketing at Hafla tents.
“Several requests are coming from companies, corporates or businesses that want to host events for their employees.”
The company has fully equipped tents to make sure business does not cool off during the hot summer months.
“Despite soaring temperatures in summer, especially inside tents, our tents are fully equipped with cooling systems,” she said. “So we expect the increase in business to continue during summer.”