Malls, theme parks to make Dubai a timeshare hotspot
Published: Thu 26 Jan 2017, 7:00 PM
Last updated: Sun 29 Jan 2017, 9:56 AM
Driven by its world-class shopping malls, theme parks and traditional attractions, Dubai, which already tops the list of timeshare destinations for Africans, has the potential to emerge as a leading global hub for holiday ownership with Dh18.35 billion in sales, industry experts said.
Arabian Falcon Holidays, a leading player in the Middle East timeshare industry, said the anticipated enactment of the long-awaited new timeshare law would give a major fillip to the sector.
Dubai's timeshare market is expected to grow strongly, surpassing the average growth rates of 15 per cent to 20 per cent per year, with 2017 heralding a new era that will witness 50 per cent growth as new tourists visit theme parks and attractions such as Dubai Opera, AFH said.
Mohannad Sharafuddin, founder of the Arabian Falcon Holidays, said Dubai is already the top destination among AFH timeshare owners from Africa.
"Efforts of the UAE government in strengthening its economic ties with the African countries prove to yield mutual benefits. One of the vital reasons behind the dynamic UAE-African relations is the robust role of Dubai. This is reflected through an increase in a number of African tourists coming to the country as a result of more direct flights and easier visa regulations," said Sharafuddin.
With over 200,000 Nigerians visiting Dubai in 2015, AFH is continuing to expand its reach in the country and other nations such as Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Senegal, he said.
Rajeev Reddy, chairman and managing director of Country Club, a leading timeshare holiday resorts group in Asia, which has a strong presence in the GCC, said holiday ownership is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world hospitality trade, which boasted global sales of $19.6 billion in 2016.
"With timeshare laws in place, the GCC region, especially the UAE, will offer a new frontier with exciting opportunities and great prospects for tourism industry to grow."
Reddy said timeshare is a model in which multiple parties own rights to use typically a resort condominium unit at different time periods.
"It is a form of holiday ownership where one owns the right, either directly or through a 'club', to stay for a specific period in an apartment or villa on a resort for a great many years."
The advantage of a timeshare package is that the cost remains constant over the 30-year tenure, while the conventional hospitality price appreciation is rather market driven, Reddy explained.
Sharafuddin said Africa represented five per cent of the total inbound tourism source market of Dubai in 2015 and the potential to develop this segment appears lucrative due to the government's effort to encourage economic ties with the African continent.
"Africans believe in spending quality time with their families and opt to buy timeshare, which promotes the idea of family holiday," Sharaffudin said.
"Considering the advantages to invest in timeshare, owners do not just benefit financially by savings thousands of dirhams, they are also privileged to experience high-quality services," said Sharafuddin.
"Our timeshare agreement is for a 50-year period during which rates remain the same. Moreover, timeshare owners can opt for worldwide exchange by paying a small transfer fee," Sharaffudin said.
A recent report by Interval International, a world renowned exchange company with over 2,500 resorts worldwide, stated that Dubai has the potential to become the new Orlando or Las Vegas of timeshare.
Analysing the figures in Dubai, the report found out that if five per cent of the emirate's 100,000 hotel rooms and serviced apartments are converted to timeshare, with an estimated average sale price of Dh73,400 ($20,000) for each week's vacation ownership, it could result in Dh18.35 billion in sales volume.
"Visiting Dubai serves as an aspiration for many travellers from various parts of the world. It has just about everything for every category of traveller. The timeshare industry can support in further making Dubai more attractive, economical and accessible in order to encourage travellers, especially those with families, to visit the dynamic emirate year after year," Sharaffudin said.
"We look forward to the enactment of a new legislation that would bring confidence in the timeshare market and maintain a fair balance between the interests of both customers and operators," Sharaffudin said.