TIMESHARE and shared ownership properties have been endorsed by a major new study undertaken across the region.
Commissioned by RCI Middle East, part of the world's largest holiday exchange and rental travel group, RCI Global Vacation Network, the research findings formed the basis of a programme that attracted an audience of high profile executives from around the world.
The research focused on the burgeoning Arab tourist market and the holiday preferences of Arab travellers. More and more of them are expressing a preference to holiday within the region and this survey is essential reading for all those involved in the local hospitality and leisure sectors.
Fieldwork was undertaken by the Pan Arab Research Centre (PARC) during March across a sample of nearly 1,000 high-earning nationals from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Egypt and the UAE.
The research revealed that the concept of shared ownership products is ideally suited to the higher income Middle Eastern national. Also, that many Saudi and UAE nationals are more inclined to consider buying a timeshare property over and above other options. Longer stay purchases, known as Fractional Ownership, typically involving a share of a larger number of weeks rather than just one or two, were also a major preference, especially amongst Kuwaitis and Egyptians.
The study demonstrated that the entire sample travels regularly and that holiday choices are largely based upon destinations that offer good family solutions and shopping rather than activity and adventure tourism. Food and fine dining is definitely high on the agenda.
Topics of particular focus during the research were 4 leisure travel options: family holidays, religious travel, big trips and festive travels; the clear leader is family holidays. Many travel in larger groups, with extended family, friends and household staff; the larger, luxurious type of accommodation found within shared ownership developments, can fulfil these requirements perfectly.
Notably, 40 per cent of Saudi Nationals take household staff away with them, and 46 per cent of UAE Nationals take their parents.
Dubai and the UAE as a whole are the most popular destinations for all nationalities, especially when considering a timeshare purchase. The potential is significant – the Middle East market alone could support $540 million in annual timeshare sales. With regard to fractional ownership, the most attractive locations were Dubai, Sharm El Sheikh and Makkah. Although this is a smaller market in terms of volume, gross annual sales are estimated at $642 million, greater than for timeshare due to higher-value properties. Another exciting new shared ownership product is religious timeshare, which has received an extremely positive response amongst Muslim communities across the globe.