The sharing economy introduced through firms like Airbnb and Uber has arrived in the GCC, and is having an impact on the UAE’s tourism and travel industries.

Last year Dubai Tourism officially signed an agreement with Airbnb to regulate and promote the idea of holiday homes in Dubai, adding additional holiday homes to existing supply and giving business as well as leisure travellers a greater choice of accommodation options. Ai rbnb homes can be attractive for price-sensitive travellers as rates for serviced apartments and hotels often exceed rates of holiday homes, particularly during Dubai exhibitions and conferences.

It is expected that Dubai’s future key tourism growth markets will be across the Indian subcontinent and mainland China, and one response in hospitality has been the opening of new mid-market hotels in the 3 to 4-star segment, recognising that tourist numbers are likely to rise to 20 million tourists in 2020, compared to around 15 million in 2016, but spend per tourist will grow at a slower rate.

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