Dubai: New ‘one-stop-shop’ launched for timeshare operators

The permits can be renewed on a yearly basis


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 25 Dec 2021, 3:07 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Dec 2021, 7:39 AM

Dubai launched an online portal for timeshare operators to register and apply for permits on Saturday.

The Emirate’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) hopes such a service would elevate Dubai’s status as a leading vacation home destination.

It would encourage tourists to stay longer and attract investment into the sector as well, said the Dubai Media Office on Saturday.

The ‘one-stop-shop’ would allow potential timeshare operators to register and submit their applications for timeshare properties, get permits as a licensed operator and renew these permits on a yearly basis. The portal will also provide insights and guidance to customers and tourists, the Media Office said in a press release.

“We now have a regulatory model that supports customers, developers and vacation ownership operators with a clear and fair legal framework in place for all parties involved in the domestic timeshare market,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, the director-general of the Department of Economy and Tourism.

Almarri said a timeshare portal would help pave the way for a world-class vacation ownership market in Dubai. “It would also provide suitable alternatives to tourists, encouraging them to spend multiple and extended holidays in the UAE,” he explained.

What is a timeshare?

According to industry experts, a timeshare is a type of vacation property with a shared ownership model. With a typical timeshare, buyers share the cost of the property with other buyers, and in return, they are guaranteed an amount of time at the property each year, typically in one-week increments.

Timeshares offer a more flexible and affordable option for holidaymakers. The timeshare model can be applied to many different types of hotel properties, such as vacation resorts, villas and apartments.

The move follows the launch of and supports the implementation of the Timeshare Law which was introduced in December 2020 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said Almarri.

One of the more significant provisions of the law is that all new timeshare properties will only be designated as part of new or existing hotel rooms, while all legacy operators will be permitted to continue operations, said the Media Office.

“Under the enhanced system implemented via the portal, no private properties will be given permits to operate timeshares,” it explained.

A multi-entity Dubai-wide initiative, the portal is primarily driven by a partnership between DET and Dubai Land Department (DLD), backed by continuous coordination with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), explained Almarri.

Timeshare law and portal can protect residents from scams

The provision of such a law and portal for timeshare properties can protect residents from timeshare resale scams.

Timeshare scammers usually target families, offering them unbelievable deals, through aggressive sales tactics, including several nights stay at hotels, club membership, and discounts in international and UAE-based holiday properties.

Khaleej Times has reported the plight of several such victims in the past, where residents were duped into paying a whopping Dh40,000 for holiday schemes.

Victims had voiced their concerns and requested authorities to make the database of timeshare operators in the city public so residents are aware of where they are making their investments.


Dubai’s Timeshare Law Explained

The Timeshare Law in UAE regulates the timeshare industry:

  • It aims to protect the rights of all stakeholders and stimulate further growth across the hospitality, tourism and real estate sectors
  • In accordance with the Law, DET in collaboration with DLD and DIFC maintains a database of property brokers, developers, establishments and operators.
  • This allows DET to supervise and inspect all facilities to determine and manage all contractual terms and disputes.
  • DET also regulates timeshare contracts and handles grievances and complaints against any individual or entity involved in timeshare activities in Dubai without obtaining the required permits and approvals.

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