The holiday home market is heating up in Dubai, with significant growth driven by the increasing influx of foreign and Arab tourists opting for the high level of service that the emirate provides in this sector.
Despite the fact that it was launched by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) only recently, the emirate’s holiday home sector has gained ground in record time.
The concept of holiday homes in the UAE is focused on furnished accommodation that is rented as a whole unit on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis and registered with DTCM by licensed operators.
“International platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com have contributed significantly to familiarising customers with holiday home services for tourism or business purposes,” said Dr Ahmed Samerai, founder of leading holiday home operator Al Bahar Downtown, which is ranked number one on Booking.com for preferred holiday homes based on guest reviews.
He added, “Dubai’s licensed holiday homes offer better quality and services than those in many other cities around the world. Most of the units in the emirate are located in modern buildings with swimming pools and gyms; in other cities, vacation apartments tend to be older without the features and facilities that are so widely available in Dubai.”
Dr Samerai explained that there are more than 2,000 units in Dubai promoted by the main hospitality booking platforms, and this figure is expected to increase annually by a minimum of 15 per cent.
“The demand for long-term rentals is slowing down and there is an oversupply of apartments. Many owners prefer to turn their apartments into holiday homes run by licensed companies until the long-term rental market improves. This option allows them to meet their financing obligations and cover service fees and the charges for chilled water, which are typically paid by landlords.”
Holiday homes are facing stiff competition from hotels that are reducing their rates and offering incentive packages, including free meals. This means that holiday home providers must lower their prices in order to attract customers. In the long-term, this may have a negative effect on the sector’s ability to provide quality services and undertake necessary renovations.
Dr Samerai commented that holiday homes – one of the many services offered by the government of Dubai – provide visitors to the emirate with a broader range of accommodation options, saying, “Clear regulation and oversight are likely to boost this sector’s competitiveness, transparency and safety and enhance service levels.”
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