DUBAI will become a major holiday letting destination over the next five years, competing with resorts like Orlando in the multi-billion dollar short-term leisure market, a self-catering accommodation expert says.
Nick Turner, managing director of RCI Middle East, says that by the time Dubai achieves its target of 15 million tourists annually, 20 per cent of those will be staying in villas or apartments rather than hotels.
Turner, who was addressing a seminar in Dubai, discussed how the emirate is “reinventing” itself in the leisure holiday market to attract families who stay longer, and spend more.
Thousands of beach front apartments and villas built close to retail centres and other main tourist attractions will allow investors to capitalise on the advantages of short-term rental income.
“At present, the average stay for a tourist visiting is three nights,” said Turner. “Once you’ve done the old souks, the shopping malls and the beach you’ve virtually exhausted the reasons for being here from a tourist’s perspective.
“So Dubai is now developing like Orlando has over the last 20 years, by broadening the tourism proposition for families of two adults and two children, building huge theme parts and other attractions to extend the tourists’ stay and increase their spending while they’re here. It has to attract the Middle income market. These are the people who will fill the shopping malls and theme parks.”
Extensive market research carried out by RCI showed that the UK followed by Germany as Dubai’s two main markets for self-catering holidays, while six out of ten Saudi families would prefer a villa or apartment to a hotel.
He also said short-term rental will attract business from the exhibition and conference market, as it has in Las Vegas, the leading US convention destination.
Government figures show Dubai now has seven million overnight guests per year. “Dubai should achieve its target of 15 million tourists per year by around 2015. We estimate that 20 per cent of those will be staying in short-term accommodation, rather than in hotels for three or four nights. That’s three million people staying longer and spending more money, meaning a positive impact on the economy,” said Turner. “But a 25-sqm bedroom is not big enough for a family of two adults and two children. They need more space, more privacy, the option of self catering, a private pool and value for money.
“Why spend Dh2,000 a night for a small hotel bedroom on Jumeirah Beach when they can have a nice villa or apartment for the same price?”
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