Combination of high hotel and apartment costs and strong tourism propels Airbnb rates in some Gulf cities, including Dubai, Riyadh and Kuwait City
Dubai has been named the fifth most expensive city in the world for Airbnb listings in a new global index.
A combination of high hotel and apartment costs and strong tourism has Airbnb rates in some Gulf cities, including Dubai, Riyadh and Kuwait City, among the world's priciest, according to the latest Bloomberg index.
Miami and Boston took the top two spots in the average daily cost of lodging in private dwellings for the second straight year. Airbnb owners asked for $205 a night and $195 a night, respectively, in the two cities.
Dubai's short-term rentals averaged $185 a night in Bloomberg's index, a reflection of high hotel rates in a city where more than 70 percent of hotel rooms are four-star or above.
Dubai's supply of Airbnb units more than doubled to 3,249 units in the two years ended August 2017, following a relaxing of government regulations.
In 2016, Airbnb also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dubai Tourism (DTCM) to encourage responsible hosting within the emirate as well as promote tourism diversification.
“Initially, it started slowly in the Middle East but we’ve seen an acceleration since we signed a MoU with DTCM which has helped grow the number of listings, especially in Dubai,” said Hadi Moussa, the company’s general manager for Middle East and Africa.
“I think the MoU with DTCM setting clear regulations is a great starting point. Because, it creates a certainty for the host to know that one, it’s legal, and they have clear and simple rules on what they actually need to do to become a host on Airbnb – that’s why we are also seeing the growth in Dubai. Currently, we have 6,700 properties across the UAE. So creating that level of regulatory certainty – that’s very important for us,” he added.
Moussa told Hotelier Middle East that Airbnb has its eyes set on growth within this region such as plans to capitalise on the 25 plus million visitors expected to visit the emirate for the Expo 2020, and establishing a strong foothold in Saudi Arabia.
Several cities around the globe, including New York, have put various restrictions on the short-term rental market out of fear that the practice drives up housing costs.
The Bloomberg index considered Airbnb listings in more than 120 global cities.