Dubai to pioneer holiday ownership trend in region

DUBAI — Dubai will soon set another innovative trend by pioneering timeshare in the Gulf region, a move that is expected to further strengthen its already booming tourism industry, official sources have disclosed.

By Criselda E. Diala

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Published: Sat 24 Feb 2007, 8:29 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:35 AM

Also known as “holiday ownership”, timeshare is a concept that allows individuals or groups to purchase a week or weeks in a vacation property (such as a resort, villa, or condominium) and use it for a specific number of years. Since the overall cost of the property is divided among all the “owners”, higher quality of amenities and upkeep become more affordable for them.

Untapped strategy

While the concept is being practised in the hospitality sector of various countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, it is still a relatively untapped strategy in the Gulf and the Middle East.

Eng. Marwan Ahmed bin Ghalita, Technical Administration Director of the Dubai Land Department (DLD), said that the introduction of timeshare in Dubai has been synchronised with the creation of unique property developments, such as those being constructed in Dubai Festival City and The Palms.

Unique projects

“The demand for timeshare has already been felt. We are currently looking at how we can implement the system in Dubai. Since there are unique projects that will be coming up here, eventually there will also be a need for new services for tourists,” he told Khaleej Times.

He mentioned that with timeshare, tourists can have more options in enjoying their short stay in the emirate.

“A tourist will have the choice to move around and experience the many features of Dubai without costing him much. For instance, even if he cannot afford an apartment in The Palms, he may still be able to at least ‘own a portion of the property’ for a week or a month and even transfer to another property in other locations within Dubai,” he added.

Tripartite panel

In as far as the Dubai Government is concerned, Bin Ghalita said a tripartite committee composed of the DLD, Department of Economic Development (DED), and Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has been formed to draft the laws regarding timeshare.

Under their proposal, the DED will handle registration of companies that will operate timeshare properties since it is the agency in charge of issuing trade licences.

The DTCM, meanwhile, will conduct and monitor the grading of properties based on their standards.

Properties’ sale

A problem currently associated with timeshare is the illegal selling and re-selling of properties. Dubai attempts to go one step forward in preventing this concern through the DLD, which will make sure that the building is registered as a timeshare property and does not have any pending problems.

“It should be clear for any tourist or investor that the building is specifically designed as a timeshare property. It should not be mixed with residences or offices,” Bin Ghalita said.

Draft law

Ali Ibrahim, Deputy Director General for Executive Affairs of the DED, confirmed that the committee has already drafted the timeshare laws but it is still yet to be submitted to the Dubai Government.

“We are still working on the laws that will be implemented in relation to this concept. Hopefully within the first half of this year, we will be able to submit our draft to the government for their approval,” he said.

Because the law is still underway, Ibrahim said he cannot at the moment provide details as to the requirements, terms and conditions of timeshare operation in Dubai. He assured the Press, though, that they will properly inform the public once the law has been approved. The DTCM also acknowledged the existence of a committee on timeshare but official sources were not available to comment on the scheme.

Built-in projects

Although the first timeshare properties will be built-in projects within the emerging “new Dubai”, Bin Ghalita did not discount the possibility that existing properties in the old town may be converted into timeshare. “Changing an existing structure into timeshare in the old side of Dubai may be possible but there should be official regulations and laws on this, which the committee is looking into,” he said.

Aside from supporting the emirate’s tourism industry, Bin Ghalita is confident that timeshare will further boost Dubai’s economy. “People will invest heavily on timeshare especially with the attractions of Dubai. I think it will introduce more profit,” he concluded.

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