Monday, July 25, 2005
Ever get the urge to travel to Dubai? Thanks to Interval International, you just might get your chance.
According to this recent article, industry analysts are bringing more and more attention to the Middle East’s timeshare industry. Political changes, plus the involvement of a major timeshare exchange company, may spell revitalization for the region’s resorts. Interval International, the second-largest timeshare exchange company in the world , has opened talks with legislators from several countries in the region. Their goal is to establish legislation that provides consumer protection as well as growth opportunities for legitimate timeshare businesses (and hopefully to make life difficult for dishonest timeshare businesses). II has opened a sales office in Dubai, and is making its presence known through seminars and conferences in the area.
Most Americans, when asked if they would like to buy timeshare in the Middle East, would react with incredulity. This region’s image has been tarnshed by years of conflict and certain countries -like Lebanon- are still cleaning up the deadly detritus of war. How could a place like this translate into an appealing vacation spot? Furthermore, how could this part of the world successfully support a timeshare industry of its own?
It may sound far-fetched, but the concept of timeshare in the Middle East is predicted to become more popular in coming years. Consider Lebanon in the early 1970s, before the Lebanese Civil War. Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast was once considered a chic travel destination by Europeans and residents of bordering countries. Recently, with radical political reform sweeping through Lebanon, the groundwork has been laid for rebuilding of infrastructure on a massive scale. Despite Lebanon’s challenges, some say the future looks bright for this country in transition.
Earlier this year, a non-profit group called Time4Sharing finished planting over 3,000 trees on a significant acreage of land designated as a children’s park. Time4Sharing, an organization composed of timeshare professionals all over the world who donate their time for worthy causes, accomplished this project for the comparatively small sum of $50,000 (about the same cost as a red week in Hawaii bought directly from a resort). This park was constructed in an area that, devastated by war and riddled with land mines, was formerly considered uninhabitable.
Dubai, long considered a playground for wealthy sheikhs and jet-set Europeans, is now receiving some attention from Americans and other adventurous types from all over the globe. Recognizing the potential of this area, Kerzner International is developing a huge resort on Dubai. Similar to Kerzner’s colossal Atlantis complex on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Atlantis Dubai is scheduled to open in 2007 and will feature an aquarium, a water park, and countless other attractions. The cost of developing this resort is estimated at 1.1 billion dollars.
Anyone willing to make this kind of investment would have to be extremely confident about the long-term returns.