In response to a social media backlash, Qatar’s Ministry of environment clarifies that new entry fees for public parks will only apply to Al Khor park, with Qatar’s 90 parks still free of charge for the public to enjoy.
The Ministry of Environment has clarified in a tweet that public parks in Qatar remain free of charge, except Al-Khor park because it contains a petting zoo inside. On Monday many residents took to social media to express their anger after an ambiguously written statement seemed to imply that all parks in Qatar would now have an entry fee.
Ministry of Municipality and Environment reiterates that the entry charges are related to the #zoo at #AlkhorPark only and No other Public Park specified for entry fee “at the moment”. There are more than 90 Public Parks in the state where entry is free for all. #Qatar #MME pic.twitter.com/UJBg2OeGmh
— Baladiya (@Baladiya1) October 19, 2020
The Official Gazette has however stated that ‘other parks’– later to be determined by the ministry–will have a fee of 10 riyals for adults and 5 riyals for children under 10 and those with special needs. It’s still not clear whether those other parks include some of the current green spaces that exist, or if the term refers to new parks that have yet to be opened.
Lost in translation?
Many people thought the new policies will be implemented for all public parks, causing a wave of online criticism over the ministry’s decision.
Although public parks are a popular destination for people from all walks of life, they are especially important for those from low-income backgrounds as they provide a cost-free option for recreation. It’s this that led some people to view the perceived new charges as unfairly targeting low-wage workers and called upon the Ministry to clarify.
— James Lynch (@jpmlynch) October 19, 2020
This is absolutely awful. I remember when access to Aspire Park was restricted to people in "sporting attire." Yet another attempt to stop labourers enjoying green spaces.
— Victoria Scott (@Toryscott) October 19, 2020
A few hours later, the Ministry cleared the air by reiterating that the entry fees are only for the zoo at Al Khor Park, with no other public park specified for entry fee “at the current time.”
تنوه وزارة #البلدية_والبيئة أن رسوم دخول الحدائق تتعلق بحديقة الحيوان بمنتزه الخور ولاتوجد حدائق أخرى محددة برسوم في الوقت الحالي، وتوجد أكثر من 90 حديقة عامة بالدولة مجانية الدخول. pic.twitter.com/IrR714hdI3
— وزارة البلدية والبيئة | MME (@albaladiya) October 19, 2020
Al Khor Park is one of the oldest parks in the country and was recently reopened after undergoing extensive renovation work that lasted almost six years. The park has huge, well-maintained green spaces, a battery-operated train that can take 36 people, a miniature golf course, and a small petting zoo with oryx, emu, zebras, and exotic birds, among other animals.
In accordance with the new announcement, the entrance fee for Al Khor Park for a full day will be QR15 for adults and QR10 for children under 10 years and those with special needs. As for when special events are held, the entry fees will be QR50 for the whole day.
Interested in feeding animals at the park’s zoo? A ticket for feeding animals will cost you QR50, while the fare for Al Khor Park train has been priced at QR5 per person and free for persons with special needs.