Abu Dhabi updates holiday home policy to include farmhouses

Travellers can soon enjoy a taste of country life as government expands short-stay licences

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi aims to share Emirati heritage with a wider group of visitors. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Farmhouse owners can now turn their properties into holiday homes.

On Wednesday, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi updated its licence policy to diversify the holiday homes available in the emirate, while offering farm owners additional ways to earn income.

Travellers are already able to take holidays in caravans and RVs.

Additionally, landlords can now have more than one holiday home licence for multiple units, giving investors and property management companies more investment opportunities.

Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, director general for tourism at the department, says the expansion will support both Abu Dhabi's hospitality and agri-tourism sections.

"As the emirate witnesses substantial tourism growth, it is imperative that we continue to offer visitors unique and sustainable experiences that reflect our rich heritage and renowned Emirati hospitality," he adds.

The new rule precedes the introduction of a more comprehensive policy framework aimed at encouraging the licensing and promotion of farmhouse tourism, with farm owners urged to develop Emirati-led agri-tourism activities for those seeking new experiences in the UAE.

Farmhouse owners looking to register their properties as holiday homes can access a comprehensive manual available on the department's website. Landlords have a grace period of six months to begin the process.

In recent years, there has been a push for holiday homes and hotel alternatives in the UAE, as demand in the sector grows year after year.

Dubai has allowed holiday homes for more than a decade; last August, Sharjah launched a regulatory framework for its Holiday Homes Project, allowing residents to rent out properties for short stays.

Abu Dhabi also signed a deal with Airbnb last year, with the tech platform providing access to its City Portal, which provides data and insights about rental activities in the emirate.

The company also launched a dedicated "responsible hosting" page to help new and existing hosts in Abu Dhabi understand the local rules for holiday homes.

Updated: August 30, 2023, 9:44 AM