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Emaar says “No” to Holiday Homes in Downtown

On the 5th September Emaar announced that there would be no more Holiday Homes allowed in their Downtown project. This ban is to all owners, operators and apparently includes their own holiday homes operations, Ease by Emaar.

Back in February 2015 The Dubai Tourism announced new regulations and a framework for how the Holiday Homes industry would operate and have been very supportive ever since with operators such as ourselves.

The launch of holiday homes was to enhance the tourism industry and offer a more diversified offering of rooms to tourists in the lead up to Expo 2020.

“It is also part of Dubai’s objective to further diversify and increase its hospitality offering in line with its vision to attract 20 million visitors to the emirate by 2020.”(Hotelier Middleast, Feb 2016)

So it was huge shock on Thursday when Emaar announced the ban.

As an industry we have all spent the past weekend looking at whether or not this move will stick and if it does what happens next. We are not massively exposed to property in Downtown but it sends out a mixed message that suddenly Holiday Homes is not welcomed by Emaar yet actively supported by DTCM.

My personal view is that DTCM will want to find some sort of middle ground whereby operators are free to carry on the activity but at the same time appreciate that Emaar are trying to protect the image and residents of Downtown.

Currently all operators have to register guests with the DTCM and a tourism fee is charged. This probably needs taking to the next level so that more stringent rules are imposed on guests and the operators become more vigilant ensuring that the guests are family friendly and fit in with living in a residential area. Parties come with music and this type of disruption leads to complaints from residents which of course anybody can appreciate. There has to be the right filters in place to allow a situation where holiday guests or corporate rentals can live harmoniously with permanent residents. The landlords need to make money to pay for the upkeep of their property and the service charges which ultimately everybody benefits from.

Dubai real estate is dominated by professional landlords who look for ways to maximise their returns and cutting off this option will not happen as I am sure DTCM and Dubai inc understand that it is a necessary part of the investment market and working out a way to integrate it properly will be the best way forward for all the stakeholders.

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