US and British Visitors Lead Travel Surge; Bookings More Than Double For NYE
Dubai, UAE: The number of people staying in homes listed on Airbnb in the UAE is set to more than double during New Year’s Eve. The popular global platform is currently seeing a 108% spike in bookings during the New Year period, as travellers head to the Emirates to enjoy the celebrations. This figure is only expected to rise as the holiday season approaches.
The surge in bookings to stay in Airbnb properties throughout the UAE is led by visitors from the United States and United Kingdom, while domestic travel from residents within the UAE is also proving hugely popular.
The top New Year’s Eve destination for guests travelling from the UAE is Dubai, with many locals looking to celebrate in the region, closely followed by Cape Town, London, Beirut and Paris.
Globally, guests using Airbnb over the New Year period has grown hugely over the past decade. On the 31st December 2009, Airbnb calculated that 1,400 people used the platform to book a home away from home. Founder Brian Chesky tweeted last NYE that over 3 million people stayed in Airbnb listed properties during the turn of the year.
The alternative options for travellers that Airbnb provides aid the UAE’s agenda to grow and diversify the tourism base. In October, the UAE Cabinet announced rules that allow visitors to extend their visit and tourist visas twice, for just Dh 600 per extension, without the need to leave the country. Earlier in the year, government officials discussed the need to diversify GDP away from oil, searching for alternative means to obtain growth and revenue. Oil contributes roughly 30 percent of state GDP, with the government aiming to reduce this to 20 percent by 2021.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, declared the aim to attract 21-23 million tourists by 2022 and 23-25 million visitors by 2025. Airbnb provides an alternative choice of accommodation option, as it grows across the region, helping to support the touristic vision and goals of the UAE.