Timeshare arrives in UAE

Timeshare arrived in the UAE in December with IFA’s appointment of RCI as the ‘membership inventory manager’ of its Vacation Club property on Palm Island Jumeirah.

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By  David Ingham Published  January 1, 2004

Timeshare arrived in the UAE in December with IFA’s appointment of RCI as the ‘membership inventory manager’ of its Vacation Club property on Palm Island Jumeirah. The agreement means that anyone buying a timeshare week in the Vacation Club will be able to swap that week for one in 3700 resorts affiliated to RCI worldwide. The announcement is significant because it marks the first time that a timeshare development has been permitted in the UAE. James Wilson, president & COO, IFA Hotels & Resorts is confident, however, that the Vacation Club will be a big success. “Timeshare is now a major part of the global tourist industry,” explained Wilson. “In recent years it has demonstrated strategic resilience, overcoming volatility in the hospitality marketplace.” Timeshare owners, he adds, tend to be high spenders because they have already paid for accommodation. RCI, which has affiliations with around 3,700 of the estimated 5,500 timeshare resorts worldwide, also believes that the UAE is ripe for timeshare development. The company believes Dubai is in so much demand as a destination that up to 10% of its announced freehold properties could be put into the timeshare system and stay full year round. Another company interested in seeing timeshare develop in the UAE is Interval International, a vacation swap company that has affiliations with around 2,000 timeshare resorts. The company hosted a one day timeshare event in Dubai on December 8 that included speakers from Egypt, where the concept has taken off and succeeded. A recent article in our sister publication, Hotelier Middle East, profiling RCI, prompted a number of calls from hotel owners wanting to contact the company. According to Ragatz Associates, a global consultancy, timeshare sales were worth US $9.4 billion in 2002. Worldwide, 6.7 million households own 10.7 million timeshare weeks.

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