Abu Dhabi begins holiday home regulatory drive

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism [DCT Abu Dhabi] is on the verge of implementing new regulations on holiday home rentals in the emirate, according to Gulf News.

The action is being enforced by the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, regarding the regulation and licensing of vacation rental homes in the emirate.

The publication reports that the incoming regulations, which govern the provision and renting of holiday homes, are to be introduced due to rising demand for alternative accommodations in the region, as travellers seek unique experiences beyond the traditional hotel market.

Under any such regulations, all rental properties will be available for holidaymakers to book a rental stay. These will be included in the offerings of global home-sharing platforms, subject to Abu Dhabi’s quality and service standards that the emirate promotes.

Abu Dhabi’s reasoning for this regulatory drive is attributed to a number of factors: embracing increasing innovation and technology within the tourism sector, as well as developing a framework for holiday homes to abide by, in line with best practice of holiday rentals worldwide.

In addition, DCT Abu Dhabi believes higher quality standards will serve to enhance the overall visitor experience, expand accommodation offerings to overseas travellers and level out the licensing playing field which blights many cities around the world. As more unlicensed units emerge on home-sharing platforms, the prices of hotel rooms rises and places a strain on competition within the hotel sector.

As well as upholding the emirate’s high service standards, the department is introducing the regulations in order to address four key issues currently facing the emirate’s vacation rental market: Units operating without a hosting licence; the effect unlicensed units have on hotel room prices; the shortage of available housing supply; and residential community concerns.

DCT Abu Dhabi will manage unit supply to ensure that each accommodation offering intended for tourists in Abu Dhabi is afforded an equal opportunity to collect business. All units will also be subject to the existing six per cent tourism fee as hotels.

Speaking to Gulf News, DCT Abu Dhabi acting undersecretary Saood Al Hosani said: “This resolution provides additional support to the sustainable ecosystem in the tourism sector, and helps enhance economic diversification in Abu Dhabi.

“The Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s decision also ensures fair competition and equal opportunities between different tourism establishments in the emirate through laws and regulations, enabling the provision of stellar services to tourists.,” added Al Hosani.