RCI, the world’s leading shared ownership and travel exchange company, has announced a two-day conference and workshop programme covering the fast emerging timeshare and shared ownership sector at Dubai’s Burj Al Arab on April 28 and 29.
Under the theme of New Horizons in Shared Ownership, the event is co-hosted by RCI’s parent company, Cendant Vacation Network Group, and specialist industry consultants, Ragatz Consulting.
With some 22,000 timeshare units under development on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai looks set to be a major timeshare destination, joining Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh in the Middle East.
The world’s biggest markets are Europe, and the US, and with chains such as the Marriott and the Hilton embracing the concept and its year-round occupancies of 90 per cent. Timeshare growth worldwide over the next five years is expected to be around 50 per cent, but probably more than that in the Gulf, says RCI managing director Vivienne Noye-Thomas. The Middle East currently accounts for some 30,000 owners.
A central feature of the seminar is the presentation of a consumer survey by Ragatz Associates, exploring the attitudes and habits of Gulf Arabs towards timeshare and other models of shared ownership. RCI’s own estimates, calculated on the basis of new accommodation entering the shared and or self catering sector by 2008, indicate that this will generate over $2.5 billion for Dubai's economy alone, says Noye-Thomas. Also part of the seminar will be an introduction on the local relevance of shared ownership, being compatible within the Islamic principle of ‘Sukok’. One such example is the five-star Le Meridien Towers project in Makkah, which offers partial ownership in over 1,300 apartments.