A BBC business report last week “The Problems with all-inclusive Holidays” highlighted the increasing problem of loss of income for small local businesses because of the rising popularity of all-inclusive vacations.
The BBC reporter visited First Choice Holiday Village in Benalmadena near Malaga and spoke to various local business owners who have been losing money because all-inclusive hotel deals are keeping guests onsite, so tourist spending locally is down.
The organisation Tourism Concern which is alarmed at the growth of all-inclusive deals was also featured. Speaking to the BBC, Mark Watson of Tourism Concern said, “Local restaurants in places such as Mallorca have had to close down because people are not going out and spending money in the local restaurants or shops.”
“Pre-paid, all-inclusive” holidays have soared in popularity recently, the BBC reported, because the benefits of paying up front for food, drink, entertainment and even childcare are obvious: holidaymakers can budget for their holidays ahead of time and not have to worry about paying while they’re abroad.
The all-in holiday concept was pioneered by Club Med in the sixties and this type of vacation now accounts for up to a third of all holidays, up nearly 50% in recent years. Some hotel guests don’t even leave the hotel pool to go to the beach, which is affecting the income of even the smallest local beach and coffee bars.
Timeshare, on the other hand, has helped generate growth and year-round – not just seasonal – jobs in a number of localities in the UK as well as overseas destinations. One prime example in the UK is Hilton Craigendarroch in the Scottish Highlands, which is part of the Hilton Grand Vacations Club. The village took off when the resort was built and more jobs were created for locals. And because timeshares are used year round and less affected by seasonal fluctuations, there is a better chance of year-round employment and also 365-day a year demand for local restaurants, shops and businesses.
The timeshare industry generates over €3.2 billion of expenditure each year and employs nearly 70,000 people, with occupancy rates throughout the year running at about 72%. In a survey a few years ago, 87% of owners said they were happy with their holidays; almost three-quarters thought their timeshare accommodation was better than the other self-catering holidays they’d taken. There are now well over 1.5 million timeshare owners in Europe.
Meanwhile, VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay and Claire Bruce, Co-Chair of the Royal Deeside and Cairngorms DMO announced a £21,000 windfall for the Royal Deeside and Cairngorms marketing project at the Developing a Vibrant Destination conference at the Hilton Craigendarroch recently. The news is perfect timing as Scotland gears up to promote its tourist offerings during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.
Run by the Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms destination marketing organisation, which currently has 85 members ranging from Balmoral Castle and Royal Lochnagar Distillery to Banchory Lodge Hotel and Walk Deeside, this latest project aims to further develop and market Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms as a high quality, sustainable, year-round, vibrant visitor destination.
The group says it will employ a number of marketing techniques to achieve this, including the relaunch of the Victorian Heritage Trail, developing the existing website, launching a social media campaign, using Google map technology to the benefit of businesses and visitors alike, hosting press trips, and highlighting walking routes and events such as the Deeside Sessions and the Venison festival.
Claire Bruce, Co-Chair of the Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms DMO, said: “Tourism plays a significant role in the local economy in Royal Deeside and this project will have a major impact in creating a partnership working ethos for local businesses to work together. It is also equally importantly for these local businesses to have created a sustainable forum for linking to the public sector. This award allows us to work towards our aim of increasing visitor numbers to the area, promoting Royal Deeside as a vibrant and cultural year round visitor destination, which will in turn bring a renewed vibrancy to the local area.”
Hilton Craigendarroch is part of the portfolio of properties in Scotland and abroad, available to members of the Hilton Grand Vacations Club.