Tourists looking to rent an apartment in Doha via Airbnb will pay a higher price per night than in most other cities in the world, new figures show.
The Bloomberg Airbnb World Cost Index ranked Doha as the tenth most expensive city in the world, ahead of the UK’s capital London (14th), and the US capital Washington, DC (16th).
The index stated that two adults looking to stay in private lodgings in Doha this week would pay an average of US$148 per night.
Tourists renting similar accommodation in London would pay $143, and in Washington $140, Bloomberg said.
The most expensive city in the world to rent via Airbnb is currently Rio de Janeiro, which is experiencing very high demand due to the Olympics.
Airbnb rentals are a growing market in Doha, despite strict regulation of the tourism sector and restrictive subletting rules for those who rent their homes.
These rules mean that it is likely that at least some Airbnb “landlords” in Qatar are breaking the law by letting out their homes.
The website has become a popular alternative to hotels, especially among price-conscious travelers and visitors looking for unique or less formal accommodation.
A search of the Airbnb website shows that there are currently 46 private rentals (including private rooms) and 13 private apartments available in Doha on a sample night later this month.
Options include a two-bedroom apartment in the ZigZag for $199 a night, a furnished studio apartment on the Pearl for $109 a night, and a one- bedroom apartment in Al Saad for $61.
Although the Airbnb market is currently small in Qatar, the website is being eyed by World Cup 2022 organizers as a viable option for visitors flying into the country for the tournament.
Speaking in March, Hassan Al Thawadi – secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Legacy and Delivery (SCDL) – said that Airbnb was “an option people want to have, and it’s an option we’d like to provide.”
Other GCC cities in the top 10
Doha is not the only GCC country to make the Bloomberg list.
The most expensive city in the region for Airbnb rentals is apparently Kuwait, which comes in at fifth place in the index with an average cost per night of $178.
Dubai is also more expensive than Doha, with couples paying an average of $168 a night.
Meanwhile, Riyadh came slightly behind Doha, ranking 12th with an average cost of $146/night.