Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Tourism diversifies as timeshares take effect

Published:Monday | May 2, 2016 | 5:00 AMClaudia Gardner

WESTERN BUREAU:

Jamaica's Timeshare Act is now officially operational, 18 months after it was passed in the House of Representatives.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett made the announcement during the opening ceremony of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) tourism trade show on the weekend.

He said the law took effect May 1 and revealed that timeshare vacations would be regulated by the Real Estate Board.

"The Ministry of Tourism is collaborating with the Real Estate Board, JAMPRO and other partners to roll out a marketing programme to attract developers and purchasers both locally and overseas. A special committee, which includes representatives from the ministry and these key entities, has been driving this process," the minister said.

"It is designed to achieve two main objectives. First, it will give legal recognition to timeshare vacation schemes in the form of right-to-use agreements, which are timeshare contracts and deeds issued in relation to these agreements," Bartlett said.

"Secondly, it also regulates the marketing, promotion and provision of timeshare accommodation and will entail the establishment of a Timeshare Vacations Registry."

The timeshare or vacation ownership concept, according to the American Resort Development Association, originated in the French Alps in the 1960s, with the idea being to enable people to purchase their future vacation at current prices.

 

DIVERSIFYING JA'S OFFERINGS

 

Purchasers of timeshares make a single purchase of furnished resort accommodations at a fraction of whole ownership costs and pay a yearly maintenance fee. The resort is divided into, and sold as, one-week periods called intervals.

The accommodation prices are set according to the size of the unit, resort amenities, location and time of the year. The purchaser owns the vacation accommodation for the amount of times he plans to use it, which is usually one or two weeks each year, and has all the benefits of a vacation home but without the yearlong costs.

Bartlett said the introduction of timeshare vacations is another way to diversify Jamaica's tourism offerings, explaining that it has the potential to create new economic opportunities for Jamaicans while fuelling investment and enhancing Jamaica's international appeal.

"Vacation ownership is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global hospitality industry, and there is significant potential for further growth and development of the timeshare product in the Caribbean and, especially, Jamaica," Bartlett said.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to urge local interests to examine timeshares as an area to invest in as the returns can be very lucrative," he added.

claudia.gardner@gleanerjm.com