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Holiday homes in the UAE and Saudi on the cusp of a huge expansion

While short-term stays have always found a home in the UAE, thriving and innovating with the times, Saudi is joining the fray with plans of its own with good news coming from Britain, a country showing enthusiasm to tour the Kingdom

Short Stay handles 75 properties across Dubai, spread across Downtown, JBR, JLT, and Dubai Marina Four in 10 Brits say they would consider holidaying in Saudi Saudi has set an ambitious target of 100 million tourists by 2030

While short-term stays have always found a home in the UAE, thriving and innovating with the times, Saudi is joining the fray with plans of its own with good news coming from Britain, a country showing enthusiasm to visit the Kingdom.

Short Stay plans

Dubai holiday home rental firm Short Stay has become the latest property management company to announce expansion plans in the emirate. The homegrown brand has just received nearly $2 million in funding.

Short Stay will acquire more units with the intention to scale its network of properties to over 500, across Dubai by Q4 of 2022.

Jugal Khushalani, founder of Short Stay said: “Dubai’s short-term rental market has seen double-digit growth and with Expo 2020, we only expect it to rise further.”

According to Khushalani, his company has benefited from a range of new visa options in Dubai, including a new remote work visa to enable global employees to enter the country under self-sponsorship and work.

Currently, Short Stay handles 75 properties across Dubai, spread across Downtown, JBR, JLT, and Dubai Marina.

Expo 2020 has already recorded 2.5 million visits, and correspondently, Dubai hotels have also recorded a 67.2% surge in occupancy rates in September.

“Within the real estate ecosystem, more landlords are keen to list their properties for short-term rentals to leverage the significant increase in inbound tourism,” Khushalani said.

“In addition to increased occupancy, the average length of stays has also steadily increased since December 2020. Guests are taking longer trips away as short-term rentals offer larger spaces, flexible payment terms, enabling people to combine work with leisure.”

Dubai’s holiday home market accounted for 2% of the emirate’s total households in 2019, the highest proportion of all other major cities worldwide, according to a review released by Knight Frank that year.

Vacation homes Saudi

According to Statista, revenue in the Saudi vacation rentals segment is projected to reach $365 million in 2021. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 10.73% between 2021-2026, resulting in a projected market volume of $608 mn by 2026, when the number of users is expected to amount to 5.1 million.

The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to $117.71 and 79% of total revenue will be generated through online sales by 2026.

Last May, Gathern, a Riyadh-based startup similar to Airbnb, announced a $6 million Series A funding round the company plans to use to expand  its geographic presence in Saudi, where it is now present in more than 100 towns and major cities.

Founded in 2017, Gathern allows users to rent a villa, apartment, farm, caravan, room, chalet, camp, or yacht directly from an individual owner through its platform, making it the first company in the country to obtain this type of license from the Ministry of Tourism.

Saudi’s Riyadh aims to raise the contribution of its tourism sector from 3% of GDP to 10%.

Market research firm Euromonitor International estimated in March 2021 that inbound tourism spending in Saudi Arabia would reach $25.3 billion by 2025.

 Saudi preferred destination for Brits

Four in 10 Brits say they would consider holidaying in the kingdom, reveals research released on November 1, 2021 by WTM London.

The optimistic outlook comes from the findings of two WTM London polls, one conducted among British consumers and the other with international travel trade professionals, which make up the WTM Industry Report.

The poll of 1,000 consumers found 42% of UK adults would consider going on holiday in Saudi. Another 19% said it would be unlikely but could be persuaded.

The poll of 676 trade professionals from countries around the world found that just over half (51%) were planning to have business conversations with Saudi enterprises at WTM London event the first week of November.

It was the most-cited destination, ahead of Italy in second place (48%) and Greece (38%).

Before 2019, tourism visas in Saudi Arabia were largely restricted to business travelers, expatriate workers, and pilgrims visiting the cities of Mecca and Medina.

The country opened its borders to international tourists with the launch of its e-visa program in September 2019.

On August 1, 2021, Saudi Arabia welcomed back tourists 18 months after tourism was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has set an ambitious target of 100 million tourists by 2030, as part of efforts to diversify its economy beyond fossil fuels.

The country is developing giga-projects to develop the kingdom’s heritage, culture, and natural assets as well as theme parks and luxury resorts.

The Saudi Arabian city of AlUla has launched a travel trade hub and online training platform to help build awareness of the destination among UK travel agents.