Expanding Timeshare Promotion in the Middle East
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Research compiled during a timeshare symposium conducted by RCI Middle East will greatly benefit timeshare developers in that region. As a current timeshare owner, or someone who is interested in buying a timeshare, you can also use this research to help you identify hot markets and desirable locations for timeshare exchange.
The Pan Arab Research Centre interviewed one thousand high-income citizens of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Kaimah, Oman, Jordan, MacKay Qatar, Egypt, Madinah and Lebanon in order to understand the travel preferences and timeshare vacation interests of the Middle Eastern family on holiday.
The results of the study, released last spring by RCI Global Vacation Network and industry consultant Ragatz Associates, reveals the following trends:
- All of the one thousand participants said they travel regularly.
- When traveling, shopping ranked as the number one activity. Food and dining options are also important, as many Middle Eastern travelers look for Halal certified food sources (food permissible according to Islamic law).
- Travel is a group experience, including the fact that 46 percent of vacationers from the United Arab Emirates take their parents with them when they travel and 40 percent of Saudi Arabians take their household staff.
- Currently Dubai and the United Arab Emirates are the most popular destinations for a timeshare vacation.
- Interval timeshare ownership can be structured to be compatible with the Muslim concept of “Sukok” through a timeshare bond that conforms to Islamic laws and Muslim principles. As the managing director for RCI Middle East, Vivienne Noyes-Thomas explains, “Sukok gives Muslims complete confidence… that what they’re buying into is safe and acceptable. The new Le Meridien Towers, an RCI affiliate, and the ZamZam Towers projects are positioning their marketing around this concept.”
Most of the interviewees expressed an interest in vacationing close to home or within “the kingdom” although Orlando, Marbella and London are also popular destinations among this group of travelers.
Over 30,000 residents in the Middle East currently own interval timeshare or fractionals. Non-owners within the surveyed group expressed interest in fractional ownership or purchasing a timeshare vacation property. Many are particularly interested in owning interval timeshare in the Islamic centers of Makkah and Madinah, both popular destinations for Muslim pilgrims.