Abu Dhabi aims to prevent unfair competition for hotels

Abu Dhabi is introducing new rules on the licensing of short-term rentals to help maintain standards and prevent unfair competition.

All properties available on Airbnb-type online platforms will now have to be licensed, must meet Abu Dhabi’s quality standards and will have to pay a 6% tax to the tourist authorities.

The new rules are designed to create a level playing field between hotels and short-term lets, preventing the latter from enjoying what has been described as an unfair advantage.

The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) – Abu Dhabi is bringing in the rules following a decision by the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

“This resolution provides additional support to the sustainable ecosystem in the tourism sector, and helps enhance economic diversification in Abu Dhabi,” said Saood Al Hosani, Acting Undersecretary of DCT – Abu Dhabi.

He claims the new regulations “ensure fair competition and equal opportunities” between establishments.

“The regulations will enable us to register all these units in one system, while providing a database for all licensed vacation homes in Abu Dhabi,” said Al Hosani, adding, “We believe that this will help in attracting a diverse segment of visitors to the emirate, and will enable owners of unique and attractive accommodation offerings to market their units.”

Additional reasons why the new rules are being brought in are pressure on the emirate’s housing stock and concerns from residential communities about the growth of short-term lets in their areas.

Units that are unlicensed or that fail to meet minimum quality standards risk fines.