Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Farmhouses the latest draw for Abu Dhabi’s tourists

The government wants farm owners to develop and promote agri-tourism experiences Unsplash/Raychel Sanner
The government wants farm owners to develop and promote agri-tourism experiences
  • Licences issued to farm owners
  • Agri-tourism development encouraged
  • Emirate targets 24m visitors in 2023

Abu Dhabi is turning to farmhouses to add diversity to its tourism as the emirate aims to attract more than 24 million visitors in 2023.

Authorities in the UAE capital are set to introduce a comprehensive policy framework to license and promote farmhouse tourism activity, with farm owners encouraged to develop and promote Emirati-led agri-tourism experiences. 

The Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi (DCT-Abu Dhabi) has updated its holiday homes policy, with farmhouse owners able to obtain licences to transform their properties.

The update is designed to diversify accommodation available in the emirate and offer new economic opportunities to farm owners. 

According to Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, there were more than 24,000 farms in the emirate in 2020.

Abu Dhabi remains the only city in the UAE that is still below its pre-pandemic benchmark for occupancy rates, by 1.7 percentage points, say CBRE. 

Average daily rates and revenue per available room have increased by almost 13 percent and 10 percent respectively.

The holiday homes policy now includes farm stays, caravans and RVs, allowing landlords and residential unit owners to obtain more than one holiday home licence for multiple units.

Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, director general for tourism at DCT–Abu Dhabi, said the expansion of the holiday homes licensing policy “will support both Abu Dhabi’s hospitality and agri-tourism sectors”. 

Farmhouse owners have a grace period of six months to initiate the licensing process for their properties, aimed at avoiding any potential penalties.

It is the latest initiative to increase growth in tourism and follows an announcement earlier this month to lower government hotel fees.

Consultants JLL said Abu Dhabi’s average daily rate for hotels increased by 26 percent for the year to June to $137.

City-wide occupancy rose to 71 percent, resulting in a rise of 28 percent in revenue per available room, which stood at $97.

No notable hotel projects were completed in the capital during the second quarter of 2023, keeping the total stock stable at 32,500 keys.

In the remaining six months of this year, another 200 keys are slated to be handed over.

Latest articles

Saudi sport

Saudi sports push ‘winning global audiences’

Saudi sports investments are winning a global audience as the kingdom tries to overcome charges of “sport washing”, a major survey of media coverage said this month. Media analytics consultancy Carma found that coverage of human rights in Saudi Arabia fell in favour of “a sports-related narrative” around the world, including in the West. The […]

Gas flaring at a plant in Veracruz state, Mexico. The country is one of the biggest contributors to global flaring, along with Iran, Iraq and Libya

Iran, Iraq and Libya among worst offenders on gas flaring

Environmentally ruinous flaring of gas at upstream oil and gas facilities has risen to its highest level for five years, despite pledges to end the practice, the World Bank has said. Iran, Iraq and Libya were among the biggest contributors in 2023, according to a World Bank report published on June 20. Along with six […]

Knight Frank predicts that the value of the Saudi Arabia's construction projects will grow to $181.5 billion by the end of 2028

Riyadh dominates Saudi Arabia’s construction market

Riyadh and its surroundings account for nearly 40 percent of the value of existing construction contracts in Saudi Arabia, at US$54 billion, according to new research. The provinces of Mecca – which includes Jeddah – and Tabuk in the north of the kingdom follow the capital region, with $28.7 billion and $28.5 billion in awarded […]

'We need to be extra cautious, but... also opportunistic', says Bahrain FinTech Bay CEO Bader Sater about the country's approach to crypto

Bahrain remains cautious but crypto pursuit advances

Bahrain will not sacrifice its position as a trusted financial centre as it chases cryptocurrency millions, according to the boss of fintech incubator Bahrain FinTech Bay. Earlier this month the kingdom’s central bank gave BitOasis Bahrain, a regional crypto trading platform, a so-called Category 2 crypto-asset services licence. The regulatory approval means that the broker-dealer […]