By Faten Omar
The camping season has begun, and many people took the opportunity to escape to vast desertscapes and open-air spaces away from the bustle of the city and closed commercial complexes. Kuwait Municipality had announced that the camping season began on Nov 15 and will continue until March 15. Speaking to Kuwait Times, Haya Adnan, a Kuwaiti, said the camping season is considered the best period in Kuwait. Haya and her family believe it is a great opportunity to enjoy the country, especially after Kuwait’s hot and dry summer.
She added camping is an ideal opportunity to escape on the weekends from crowded places, noting the camps allow visitors to get away from annoying work pressures and engage in several activities, including barbecuing, team sports, horse riding and others.
On the other hand, Abdullah Nourani, a Kuwaiti, said prices have gone up this season, alleging business owners are taking advantage of people who need to enjoy this time of the year. “Some commercial businesses raised prices of camping equipment and tents. Also, this season there are fewer offers on camping supplies than the years before,” he said.
Mishaal Ali, a commercial camp owner, said price hikes are due to inflation and increases in production costs. “The effect of the pandemic is still affecting some stores. The closure of the tent market had caused great financial hardship for hundreds of families who live on income from this sector,” he pointed out. He said rentals of small camps that include tents and facilities such as bathrooms, cooking and barbecue equipment, electricity, and other amenities range between KD 30-50 per day, adding prices of large camps may reach KD 120 depending on the level of service and facilities.
Kuwaiti Talal Al-Fadhli said one-day rentals are not reasonable, noting that these prices do not include most facilities and bouncy castles for children. “Prices are expensive. Traveling is cheaper than renting a one-day tent. The camp may cost more than KD 50 per day, while others may reach KD 400, depending on the equipment and services they provide,” he said.
Fadhli affirmed that renting a camp in Kuwait comes with a lot of issues, such as a lack of cleanliness or uneven ground under the tent. “Most of the camps are subject to removal at any time because most of them are unlicensed. They are licensed as a camp, but not commercially licensed and are not allowed to rent out. There is always a fear that the municipality will arrive and remove everything that has been equipped and built,” he said.
Fadhli indicated that the camp business is very profitable. “Let’s do the math: Large camps usually have 80 tents and are set up for 12 weeks. Income without any services may reach at least KD 38,000, apart from renting buggies and entry tickets for children’s areas. Also, prices are doubled during holidays and New Year’s Eve, where one night costs KD 150,” he calculated.
Hamedan, a salesman at the tent market, said prices of camping supplies vary between KD 50 and KD 300, depending on the quantity and the quality of chairs, tents, barbeque grills, charcoal and others.
The Municipality announced the opening of camp reservations in 34 locations identified for setting up spring camps for this season in the governorates of Jahra and Ahmadi. The cost of securing a campsite is KD 100 refundable by the Municipality, and KD 50 in non-refundable charges, provided the site is used by the same person to whom it is licensed to.