UAE tent com­pa­nies keep the faith­ful cov­ered dur­ing holy month

The National - News - - RAMADAN 1439 - GIL­LIAN DUN­CAN

The run-up to Ra­madan is a tent com­pany’s busiest time but now the holy month has be­gun, their em­ploy­ees will fi­nally start to get some rest.

One of the big­gest in the busi­ness, Ara­bian Tents, has been gear­ing up for Ra­madan for the past few months. And since the mar­quees are now all up, the hard work is over, for sev­eral weeks, at least.

“It is dif­fi­cult to take a new or­der in the days [im­me­di­ately pre­ced­ing Ra­madan],” said Adeeb Al Ayedi, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ara­bian Tents.

“But if it’s a small tent and our crew can fin­ish it in four hours, we can take it.”

The com­pany’s two big­gest clients dur­ing the pe­riod are ho­tels, who use them to put on huge if­tar ban­quets, and in­di­vid­u­als who want to give back to the com­mu­nity.

“Many peo­ple want to give a tent to the mosque, to give free meals to poor peo­ple,” Mr Al Ayedi said.

Ara­bian Tents starts tak­ing or­ders in Feb­ru­ary, many from ho­tels who want them kit­ted out in a spe­cific way.

Or­ders from char­i­ties ar­rive about a month be­fore Ra­madan starts.

“I al­ways talk to my clients two or three months [in ad­vance] to see if they want to book the tent. It is easy to keep it in our sched­ule, but when Ra­madan comes there is no time to build up the tent be­cause we will be busy in more than 50 lo­ca­tions,” Mr Al Ayedi said.

The com­pany starts erect­ing the tents about a month be­fore the start of Ra­madan.

The Shar­jah com­pany, which pro­vides ev­ery­thing from the ta­bles and chairs to AC, lights and car­pets for the mar­quees, has been oper­at­ing in the UAE for 11 years.

In that time it has also pro­vided struc­tures for Hol­ly­wood films such as Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble – Ghost Pro­to­col and Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens.

“We pro­vided the tents for the crew and the lo­ca­tions. There were more than 18 lo­ca­tions in the desert for Star Wars,” Mr Al Ayedi said.

“They took a huge tent for the movie.”

The com­pany, which also sells shades for park­ing and schools, has a year-round or­der book, and also re­ceives a flurry of book­ings around Na­tional Day. But Ra­madan is its busiest pe­riod, by a long way.

The busi­ness owns about 100 tents, and is of­ten fully booked dur­ing the holy month. It em­ploys about 80 peo­ple, but has to bring in up to 50 tem­po­rary em­ploy­ees in the months be­fore Ra­madan starts, in or­der to meet de­mand.

“Some­times we have some peo­ple who can work part­time. It might be a com­pany that sup­plies the labour. We have a con­tract with two or three com­pa­nies that can pro­vide us with some labour. Es­pe­cially in the days just be­fore it starts, be­cause we are work­ing 24/7,” Mr Al Ayedi said.

He said busi­ness was no qui­eter or busier this year, but it was dif­fer­ent in one way. Be­cause the Fifa World Cup starts on June 14 – which is ex­pected to be the fi­nal day of Ra­madan – many ho­tels have opted to keep the mar­quees up for an­other month.

“There are more en­quiries com­ing be­cause the World Cup is com­ing af­ter Ra­madan. Peo­ple want to use the tent for two months, for Ra­madan and the World Cup,” Mr Al Ayedi said.

“We are not go­ing to charge clients the same price for both months, we will give them some dis­count for the sec­ond month. We will give them some dis­count.”

Mona Al Mar­zooqi / The Na­tional

Ara­bian Tents also sup­plies pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, such as it did for ‘Star Wars’ in 2014

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