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Freeport timeshare sector ‘providing stability’

Timeshare resorts enjoy ‘high annual occupancies’
Guardian Business Reporter

Published: Oct 29, 2013

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MIAMI, Florida – Freeport’s timeshare industry has been “vital” and provided much economic stability for that island.

Neil Kolton, director of Caribbean and Florida for Interval International, a timeshare vacation provider, said in The Bahamas, Freeport has been the island that has continued to have a very robust sales program, running very high occupancies on an annual basis. Island Seas has been one of the resorts that have stood out on that island.

“If you look at the timeshare resorts, they are still in active sales that are generating a pretty meaningful volume of annual sales. We have several clients in Freeport. I think the timeshare segment has helped to provide stability to Freeport,” he revealed during a Caribbean Roundtable at the15th annual Shared Ownership Investment Conference at Eden Roc Miami Beach yesterday.

“Island Seas Resort is an example of one of our longtime clients. They continue to have a very robust sales program, which runs very high annual occupancies.”

While the timeshare segment is growing in Freeport, Kolton admitted the cost of airlift concerns him. He emphasized its importance as it directly correlates with the success of the timeshare business.

“It seems like it is definitely climbing and that’s concerning in a market that caters to a bit more value-oriented consumer. So that does worry me. But those timeshare owners fortunately do own that product on a prepaid basis. So you are finding that even if the cost of airlift is rising, they are still going to come back and use because they own it,” he said.

“Obviously, the volume of new vacation ownerships sales that a property is going to be able to achieve does in large part depend on the volume of tourists coming to the destination and staying at the property on an annual basis.

“Certainly the volume of tourists that are visiting on an annual basis, those destinations probably have a much more robust volume of airline coming in and probably more attractive airlift. So our business directly correlates to that.”

Meantime, Kolton confirmed he continues to meet with developers across The Bahamas as the demand for timeshare remains high.

“I know quite a lot is going on in Nassau in terms of new development. But it continues to be a high-demand market with the product that we do have. But there are not a lot of new developments happening in the Out Islands,” he said.

“I haven’t heard much in terms of new shared ownership development, but Freeport seems to be in terms of new active sales, the part of The Bahamas with the most robust sales going on right now.”

“I have been to several of the islands, and we have been in constant discussions with various developers in these markets. We just have to keep them updated with what’s going on in our industry.”

According to Interval International’s 2013 Industry Insight, the preferred destinations for its clients are The Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda; Europe; and Mexico.

They were cited as the most popular international vacation destinations, with approximately 39 percent, 36.5 percent and 25 percent, respectively, of U.S. members planning to vacation in these regions during the next two years.

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