Jamaica now ready for timeshare market, says Bartlett

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett declared yesterday that Jamaica is ready to conduct business in the lucrative timeshare industry, one of the fasting-growing sectors in the world hospitality trade, which boasted global sales of US$19.6 billion last year.

“We are young, we are new, we are fresh and we are ready to do business,” Bartlett told hundreds of tourism stakeholders during a panel discussion on the topic Timeshare’s Economic Impact on Destination Markets, on the third day of the 18th Annual International Shared Ownership Investment Conference at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Hotel in Florida.

“The timeshare legislation was promulgated last year, regulations brought into play, and we opened for business on the first of May this year, so we represent a new frontier with new opportunities and new prospects. So I am here today (yesterday), primarily to begin the conversations for us to embrace some of your experiences and, more importantly, your investments, because we want to diversify our product offerings, particularly in the accommodations sub-sector.”

Timeshare is a model in which multiple parties own rights to use typically a resort condominium unit at different time periods. But there are a few timeshare properties in Jamaica — unlike other Caribbean islands such as St Maarten and Aruba — which has less than one per cent of the timeshare market in the region. 

Jamaica’s poor showing in that tourism sub-sector has long been blamed, by tourism industry stakeholders primarily, on the delay by the country in putting in legislation to guide property development and to protect the interests of investors and consumers.

Bartlett told the gathering yesterday that successive governments have long recognised that the timeshare sub-sector is a key element of diversification, which could provide a better flow of experiences that will enable the country to respond to the diverse needs of consumers and visitors.

“We recognise also that timeshare offers a great opportunity for job creation in a wide range of areas and for income distribution within our economy that will fulfil the objectives of tourism, which is to provide a positive impact on the economy,” Bartlett argued. He said he has already identified several coastal areas which have high elevations and “certain privacy” that are best suited for timeshare business.

He later told the Jamaica Observer that the areas include sections of southern Manchester in the Alligator Pond area; the Treasure Beach area of St Elizabeth; sections between Green Island and Negril in Hanover; and sections of St Thomas. Bartlett said earlier this year he met with a number of potential investors in Los Cabos, Mexico — where timeshare business flourishes — some of whom, he said, will be coming to the island next month to look at properties that they may want to invest in. He added that meetings are also planned for December with investors from the Middle East and other countries who have also expressed an interest in investing in the country’s fledging timeshare business.

Meetings are also planned with representatives of large hotel chains that operate in Orlando, Florida. “We are working with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) in developing and exploring timeshare investment prospects all across the globe,” Bartlett emphasised. “We think that we can benefit from a menu of options and Jamaica’s job is to go everywhere, investigate everything, and to make the best choices.” 

Source: 
Jamaica Observer
Published Date: 
Thursday, October 27, 2016