Dubai launches online portal to boost timeshare real estate market

New platform to become a ‘one-stop shop’ for operators to register and apply for permits

Dubai launches a new timeshare properties online portal as the emirate sets its sights on becoming a leading vacation homes ownership destination. Photo: Dubai Media Office
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Dubai has set up a website on which timeshare operators can apply for permits, as the emirate aims to become a major destination for holiday-home ownership, encourage tourists to stay for longer and attract investment to the sector.

The new portal, developed by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, allows would-be operators to submit applications for timeshare properties, receive permits as licensed operators and renew them on a yearly basis, Dubai Media Office said.

The website will “help pave the way for a world-class vacation ownership market in Dubai, while also providing suitable alternatives to tourists encouraging them to spend multiple and extended holidays in the UAE,” said Helal Al Marri, director general of the DET.

“We are fully committed to taking robust measures and setting new benchmarks to enable us to remain competitive as a global tourism and investment hub.”

Dubai created the legal framework for the market through its timeshare law to regulate the industry, protect the rights of all parties, cater to investors who want to buy a holiday home and stimulate more growth in the hospitality, tourism and property sectors.

The emirate, a regional tourism and business centre, is seeking to boost foreign investment, make the city more attractive to work and live in, attract high-skilled talent and host more visitors.

A timeshare allows for partial ownership of a property and use for a certain period of the year. The model can be applied to different types of hotel properties, such as vacation resorts, villas and apartments.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the holiday homes industry recorded rapid growth as evolving consumer-spending habits meant timeshares offered a more flexible and affordable option for holidaymakers.

The portal will boost investor confidence in the emirate’s real estate and hotel offerings, speed up the approval process and provide easy access to information sought by investors, owners, operators and tourists who wish to use timeshare during their visit to Dubai, according to the government statement.

The aim is to set up an improved business environment and stimulate investments in the vacation ownership sector, it said.

A Dubai-wide initiative, primarily driven by a partnership between DET and Dubai Land Department, the portal is backed by co-ordination with Dubai International Financial Centre.

In line with the law, the DET, in collaboration with DLD and DIFC, maintains a database of property brokers, developers, establishments and operators. This allows the DET to supervise and inspect facilities to manage all contractual terms and disputes.

The DET also regulates timeshare contracts and handles grievances and complaints against anybody involved in timeshare activities in Dubai without securing the required permits and approvals.

“An important provision of the law is that all new timeshare properties will only be designated as part of new or existing hotel rooms, while all legacy operators will be permitted to continue operations,” the media office said. “Under the enhanced system implemented via the portal, no private properties will be given permits to operate timeshares.”

Mr Al Marri said the launch of the online timeshare portal would support the introduction of the timeshare law.

“We now have a regulatory model that supports customers, developers and vacation ownership operators with a clear and fair legal framework in place for all parties involved in the domestic timeshare market,” he said.

Updated: December 26, 2021, 12:53 PM