Positive trends reinforce the region’s appeal
Aah, the Caribbean… Just the word itself conjures up images of sleek white yachts in the sun moored in clear turquoise waters. A playground for the rich and famous or anyone who likes living the good life at a slower pace. The region has long been a magnet for US residents as well as Europeans lucky enough to escape to Caribbean shores for a winter escape and demand for Caribbean exchanges show no signs of letting up.
Its appeal as a timeshare and fractional destination just keeps growing, so it seems. According to Interval International, there are a number of positive trends that point towards the destination remaining buoyant despite the state of the global economy.
Members are visiting the region in increasing numbers – US residents in particular are showing continued interest in shared ownership in some form or another and many surveyed plan to buy in the next couple of years.
"Member demand for vacation exchange and resort rentals in the Caribbean is strong and we continue to affiliate new projects throughout the region," said David C. Gilbert, executive vice president of resort sales and marketing for Interval International.
"In today’s environment, shared ownership offers resort developers a compelling business model with multiple profit centers and higher occupancy levels than hotels. In the case of mixed-use projects, it also provides the potential for cost-saving operating synergies and reduced marketing costs."
Earlier this year, Interval reported that bookings into the Caribbean had already increased by about nine percent from January through November 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. It’s good news for resort operators and hoteliers in the region, particularly in the light of the global economic downturn that knocked the number of overall arrivals to the Caribbean last year.
American visitors, in particular, are keen to buy a slice of island life for their families. According to the Future Timeshare Buyers: 2009 Market Profile, the Caribbean is one of the preferred international destinations of choice among U.S. residents who holiday in the region; many plan to buy vacation ownership in the next two years, while eight out of ten said they would most probably be holidaying in the region over the next two years as well.
Last year Interval International actively expanded its resort network across the Caribbean, announcing a number of new affiliations across some of the most popular islands, including Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spain St. Lucia, Gold Coast Aruba, Dawn Beach Club in St. Maarten, and Grand Laguna Beach and Los Altos in the Dominican Republic.
One resort that has affiliated with Interval´s luxury exchange programme, Preferred Residences, is Los Altos. The 7,000 acre mixed use development is regarded as one of the top resorts in the Caribbean region.
Interval International continues to support the region’s tourism through its strategic alliance with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization, as well as its conference sponsorships, including the Caribbean Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Based in Miami, Florida, Interval International has a network of approximately 2,500 resorts in more than 75 countries and offers its resort clients and about 2 million member families high-quality products and programs through offices in 26 cities in 16 countries. Now in its 33rd year, it is an operating segment of Interval Leisure Group, Inc., a leading global provider of membership and leisure services to the vacation industry.