Waiting for Change in Jamaica Timeshare Law

Yesterday’s Sunday Business section of the Jamaica Gleaner included an article by Avia Collinder, titled: “Caribbean Timeshares Most Sought After-Industry Expert.” In it, ARDA (American Resort Development Association) Treasurer and industry expert, Robert Webb, points to the Caribbean as a highly sought destination for timeshare vacations. Webb, who is senior hospitality partner at the law firm of Baker Hostetler, explains that a relative scarcity of Caribbean timeshare units, enhanced by the popularity of the “Jamaica brand,” proximity to the US mainland, and the country’s rich natural resources and cultural diversity are all promising signs for Jamaica timeshare.

Yet despite this, the growth of timeshare in Jamaica remains stymied. Passing effective Jamaica timeshare laws appears to be running on, well, island time.

Previously here on The Timeshare Authority blog we published a post titled: Caribbean Timeshare in Jamaica, Maybe Sooner than You Think. We suggested that laws to strengthen and refine Jamaican timeshare would be happening quickly; but the date of that post was July… July of 2009.

In yesterday’s Gleaner news article, Rob Webb is quoted as saying, “ARDA believes Jamaica is uniquely positioned to further leverage the valuable economic development resource that the vacation ownership industry provides … However, timesharing will not catch on in Jamaica without a focused, meaningful timeshare law that enables the product to flourish and that protects both developers and consumers.”

Come On Mon! Jamaica Timeshare is Jamaican Me Crazy

While limited vacation ownership property is currently available in Jamaica, developers and existing resort property owners need to see new Jamaican timeshare laws in place before they embrace expanding the product to its true potential. When they do, the island then becomes ripe for the economic growth and development that the industry’s presence could bring.

And although Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has stated that progress is being made, the Gleaner reported last week in its article, “Timeshare Market Inertia,” that the process “has stalled.”

Located just south of Cuba, between the Cayman Islands and Haiti, the English-speaking island of Jamaica is known for its vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, reggae music and kicked back way of life. From its bobsled team to Bob Marley, Patrick Ewing to Ursain Bolt, much of the world already knows and loves Jamaica; most of us can even sing along with Marley’s famous, “One Love, One Heart,” that has come to be the signature song of the island.

As Rob Webb reminds us, “My ARDA colleagues and I encouraged the (Jamaican) Government to design a realistic timeshare law that would facilitate the conversion of hotel rooms into timeshare units, and we offered our assistance in helping to draft such a law. That offer still stands.”

Enhancing the Jamaica timeshare market is a worthy idea that would expand Caribbean timeshare options while likely benefiting the Jamaican economy. So come on Jamaica, “Let’s get together and feel all right…”