Airbnb launches Arabic website amid 63% growth in UAE visitors

Short-term rental platform welcomed over 145,000 guests from around the world so far this year
Airbnb launches Arabic website amid 63% growth in UAE visitors
All features in in the localised web platform and iOS and Android apps will be accessible in Arabic, including listing pages with thousands of bookable homes.
By Lubna Hamdan
Wed 22 May 2019 04:02 PM

Airbnb on Wednesday launched its Arabic website in a bit to grow its presence across the Middle East and North-Africa region, where it has over 70,000 listings.

All features in in the localised web platform and iOS and Android apps will be accessible in Arabic, including listing pages with thousands of bookable homes.

As of January 2019, it has experienced a 63% year-on-year growth in UAE visitors, according internal Airbnb data, having welcomed over 145,000 guests from around the world compared to an estimated 90,000 guests in the same time last year.

Airbnb had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dubai Tourism (DTCM) in 2016 and with Ras al Khaimah in 2018 to encourage responsible hosting within the emirates and promote tourism diversification.

Last year, Airbnb and DCT Abu Dhabi partnered to launch the Emirati Experiences that allow guests from around the world to live like a local.

Arabian Business reported in November last year that the online hospitality platform was considering the launch of an Arabic-translated website to cater to its users in the MENA region.

Dramatic growth

The US-based concept which revolves around short-term home experienced dramatic growth with a 421% rise in 2017. However many users opted for competitors such as Booking.com due to their availability in Arabic.

“Airbnb hasn’t been translated into Arabic so a lot of customers prefer Booking.com over Airbnb. This year, the website is supposed to be translated to allow more people to start using it,” sources told Arabian Business at the time.

Dubai was ranked the fifth most expensive city in the world for Airbnb consumers last year, according to the Bloomberg World Airbnb Cost Index 2018, which looks at the average cost of private lodging per night in major cities worldwide.

Average room rate

An average Airbnb room in Dubai stands at $185 per night, making it costlier than a room in New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, London or Sydney. Middle East cities Riyadh and Kuwait City ranked 11th and 15th place on the index, respectively.

Hadi Moussa, regional manager Middle East & Africa, at Airbnb said: “The Middle East and North-Africa region is extremely important to us, so we are delighted to launch Airbnb in Arabic today. People from across the region have been using Airbnb since it was founded ten years ago to book magical travel experiences. We want to create a true sense of belonging for them by ensuring they can do so in their native language going forward.

“We want to inspire more Arabic speaking travelers to explore their favourite destinations through authentic, local stays and Experiences on the Airbnb platform. Arab hospitality is famous around the world. Airbnb wants to encourage more people in the region to host and share this warm welcome with guests from around the world.”

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