The Ministry of Economy has announced the newest company to join its NextGenFDI program, the multistakeholder initiative that gives pioneering businesses from around the world the market-entry fundamentals necessary to establish and scale their operations in the UAE. Holiday Swap is a vacation exchange and booking platform with more than 1 million monthly users worldwide.
Launched in 2018, Holiday Swap is a community-based platform that connects holidaymakers online, enabling them to swap homes or rent directly from one another at minimal or zero cost. Today, the platform has more than 120,000 listed properties across 185 countries, including the UAE, where it has approximately 1,200 listings. It aims to expand its listings to 400,000 properties by the close of 2023.
The company, which has developed its own proprietary software, has joined the NextGen FDI program to consolidate its global operations in the UAE. The company will establish its headquarters in Dubai Internet City, supporting 500 jobs in the country within two years, 250 of which will be highly skilled, as it seeks to enhance its platform through advanced technology capabilities such as AI and blockchain.
His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said: “The onboarding of Holiday Swap reflects the continuing success of the NextGen FDI program in attracting pioneering companies to the UAE and fostering the development of cutting-edge solutions across a diverse range of economic sectors. The partnership is not only testament to the UAE’s position as a world-class hub for innovation but also the scale and sophistication of its travel and tourism industry, which contributed AED167 billion to the country’s GDP in 2022, a growth of more than 60 percent. We look forward to working with Holiday Swap to unlock new capabilities and adding a new dimension to our travel-related service exports.”
In response to joining the programme, James Asquith, Founder and CEO of Holiday Swap commented, “We are thrilled to join the Ministry of Economy’s NextGen FDI program, a decision aligned with our commitment to innovation and expansion. Establishing our global operations HQ in Dubai Internet City positions us perfectly to leverage the UAE’s reputation as an international leader and a powerhouse in the travel and tourism industry.
The UAE’s reputation as an amazing place to do business, with its strategic location and unparalleled connectivity to the world, makes it an ideal hub for us. The collaboration will enable us to accelerate our growth, create new job opportunities, and contribute to the UAE’s vision for technological advancement. We’re eager to take this significant step forward with a partner who shares our values and goals.”
The NextGenFDI program, launched in 2022, aims to support the growth of the UAE’s knowledge-based economy by enabling rapid incorporation and licensing, bulk visa issuance and ready access to banking facilities and real estate for advanced technology companies seeking to relocate to the UAE. The initiative comprises government and private sector stakeholders including DIFC, Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Dubai Internet City, Dubai South, Emirates NBD and the digital banking platform Wio.