[Credit: OYO]

OYO to add 500 holiday homes to Dubai portfolio in 2024

UAE: Indian hospitality chain OYO is aiming to add 500 holiday homes to its portfolio in Dubai in 2024 in order to cater to growing demand for flexible-term accommodations from digital nomads.

OYO is planning to add holiday homes across Dubai in prime destinations such as Business Bay, Jumeirah Village Circle, Arjaan and in the Downtown and Dubai Marina, including premium apartments overlooking sites such as the Burj Khalifa. The hospitality brand first entered the Dubai market with its short-stay holiday home offering in early 2019.

The homes will be equipped with facilities and amenities such as a fully furnished bedroom and living area, kitchen, large-screen TV, high-speed wifi, and parking facilities.

OYO’s portfolio growth in Dubai coincides with the news that GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] member states have agreed to roll out a unified tourist visa, which is expected to fuel a spike in short-term rental demand across the region. The Schengen-style visa is designed to connect all six countries in the GCC – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar – and create more job opportunities, thereby improving regional tourism economies.

While citizens residing in GCC countries are currently able to travel without the unified visa between the member states, tourists from other countries have so far had to secure visas for each separate state to be able to travel between them.

The new scheme, which was approved at a meeting of regional interior ministers in the Omani capital of Muscat earlier this month, will enable GCC residents and tourists to stay longer [tourists for more than 30 days if they wish] and spend more on the economy, all while creating significantly more jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors. In addition, the UAE’s Emirates Tourism Council is expected to prepare a route that connects all seven emirates using the unified tourist visa.

The GCC has laid out an ambitious plan to welcome 128.7 million visitors by 2030, with the UAE likely to be a prime destination in the region for travellers from abroad. The UAE currently has the highest number of tourist sites across all the Gulf countries [399], according to Khaleej Times, out of a total of 837 in the GCC, and that number is set to rise exponentially in the coming years.

OYO UAE head Karan Ashok said: “We’re excited to announce our ambitious plans to expand our holiday homes offerings in Dubai, ensuring that digital nomads have access to comfortable, well-equipped spaces that cater to their unique lifestyle and work preferences.”

OYO is reportedly seeking to raise $250 million from investors, having planned to go public via an IPO [initial public offering] around the Indian festival of Diwali, which fell on 12 November this year. The chain first filed for an IPO in 2021 but its prospective listing has been delayed multiple times, and it is now targeting achieving a valuation in the range of $3 billion and $5 billion.

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