Abu Dhabi: Beach-goers in the capital are livid as the entry fee to Yas beach has been doubled to Dh100 on weekends and Dh50 on weekdays.
Until last week the individual admission fee was Dh50 on weekends and Dh25 on weekdays. Children between eight and 16 paid Dh15. Now they are charged Dh50 on weekends and Dh25 on weekdays.
“I went to the beach with my family and was shocked to see the new rates. We are a family of four. Why on earth would I pay Dh300 [two kids Dh50 each] to go to a beach?” asked Khalifa City resident Peter M.
Noile Courte, another resident, said she would rather go to the beach in Saadiyat or Corniche than pay so much.
Some residents have taken to social media to express their anger.
A post at Yas Beach’s Facebook page reads: “Most families go to the beach to enjoy a day out. Paying for amusement parks is very expensive and as parents we cannot do it all the time.”
Ventura Entertainment which manages the newly opened Yas Beach justified the hike, saying they are an exclusive beach club with five-star facilities catering mainly to the seven Yas hotels.
“It is a misconception that this is a public beach. We are open to the public. But we mainly cater to the seven hotels on Yas Island as they are not beachfront properties. The beach access is complimentary for hotels guests, but the public has to pay,” said Omar Al Jaddou M.A., director of marketing, events and corporate communications at Ventura.
The company has also introduced a monthly membership fee for beach access.
General membership costs Dh350 per month for individuals, Dh600 for couples and Dh700 for a family of four, but there’s a Dh100 discount for residents from neighbourhood communities like Khalifa City, Al Raha, Al Bandar, Al Zeina, Al Mounira.
Natalie Nicolson, a British expat who lives near the corniche, said when she first saw the revised rates she thought they were for annual membership. “For a couple it is Dh600 a month or Dh7,200 a year. That’s too much to get some sun and sand,” she said.
However, Al Jaddou appeared optimistic saying people would flock to the beach once the first phase of the beach property is completed by year-end.
“We are in the first phase of developing an exclusive beach club with pool bars, restaurants that include a signature seafood restaurant, children’s playground etc, which will be ready by the end of this year,” he said.