Covid-19: No vacation for holiday homes in UAE as bookings rise
Tourists expected to flood UAE, especially when travel restrictions from key markets are lifted
Holiday homes in Dubai are busy booking business with markets, schools and colleges fuelling demand to a sector that did witness the impact of the global Covid-19 outbreak.
Vinayak Mahtani, CEO of holiday home management company bnbme, said: "We have several types of residents staying with us: Those who have bought homes and are waiting for them to get ready; residents who have lost their jobs; colleges renting a place to stay with a month-to-month commitment rather than annual agreements; and parents who have just moved to Dubai and have yet to decide where they want to live based on kids' schools before making a commitment."
"Investors are looking at short-term rentals as a more lucrative prospect than long-term yields today. The major factor benefiting investors is that the market moves up from day one in the short-term rental industry and spikes can be as much as 100 per cent. Our properties on the Palm have done far better this year than previous years," said Mahtani.
"We are actively looking to scale the business and would like to double our property portfolio in the first half of next year. We will continue to maintain high standards of properties we accept, allowing us to grow our brand," he said.
Dubai Tourism is striving to bring tourists back to the emirate; they may not be back at big numbers yet, but they are showing signs of wanting to come back.
"We still have major markets such as India and Saudi Arabia with major travel restrictions; once these open up I can see holiday homes doing extremely well," said Mahtani.
Farooq Syed, CEO of Springfield Real Estate, said: "Even as many country borders are opening back up slowly, 'stay home, stay safe' had halted vacation travel as we know it. The uncertainty of the times has made the short-term rental industry pivot and adapt real fast. Extensive sanitisation and cleaning protocols, extended stays, quarantine pads and local staycations have been the top 2020 short-term rental trends. These programmes have allowed businesses to stay afloat during the pandemic. People are looking for a change in view and amenities, which has really boosted bookings and I anticipate this trend will continue throughout 2020."
The UAE is likely to see visitors from China and Israel lead the recovery, in particular. As the first major region to be affected by Covid-19, China is slightly ahead in the recovery curve as well. The UAE is an attractive tourism for Chinese tourists, because of relative proximity and the cosmopolitan experience on offer.
Meanwhile, the recent historic UAE-Israel peace agreement will also drive an influx of travellers from the Jewish state. Israel is a very short flight across and there is a natural curiosity the two populations have for each other, due to the restricted interaction of the past, said Khurram Shroff, chairman of IBC Group and Gallery Suites.
"The reopening of the global economy will push a steady rise in international travellers. There are likely to be a number of international tourists, who have been living under lockdown for months and are now looking to compensate for that confinement, with a rejuvenating break. Concurrently, the resumption of business activities will also result in business travellers looking to build new relationships and revive established ones," added Shroff.
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