Lessons learned: park staff and systems put to the test by 100,000 guests in first week
Visitors disappointed as Dubai Safari introduces entry fee due to rush of visitors
Traffic was backed up for hundreds of yards outside Dubai Safari on Wednesday after the park announced it would end its free entry scheme on Thursday, introducing an entry fee several days earlier than anticipated.
The announcement came on Tuesday evening after more than 100,000 people visited Dubai’s newest attraction since its unofficial opening last week.
Sachin Paul, an Indian national, and his family, were waiting in the tailback. Although there were many vehicles in the queue in front of them, they said they didn’t mind waiting for a chance to enter the park.
“I saw many pictures and heard about the newly-opened Dubai Safari. Since the entry is free, I and my family wished to get a chance to enter the park,” said Paul.
Paul, who is father to a six-year-old boy, said: “Schools are closed now and I wanted my son to enjoy the facilities and see the animals inside the park. I was enthusiastic to see the various world class facilities.
“I was planning to spend the day here, but it sounds like it is impossible to enter. Unfortunately, we will have to pay to enter the park when we visit it next week.”
An all-access pass will cost Dh85 for adults and Dh30 for children.
The Dh1 billion wildlife attraction had previously invited people to visit free of charge for the first two weeks as part of its "soft" opening to bed in staff and operations behind the scenes; however, the rush means ticketing will be introduced from Thursday.
The park, home to the most diverse array of animals in the country, attracted 14,000 visitors in the first two days of its soft opening last week. The park had already introduced restrictions, such as limiting entry to families only and closing the entry gates early.
Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, told state news agency Wam: "The response from the public was overwhelming and, during this testing phase, it gave us the opportunity to monitor and assess the overall operations of the park while also gathering valuable feedback from visitors about their experience. This will contribute immensely towards further enhancing the overall offering of Dubai Safari."
The park officially opens in January.