Looking back over the blogs I have written since I started, I was surprised to see that I had not devoted one to the Spanish Market, which is still the number one timeshare holiday destination in Europe, with over 47.7 % or 715,000 of Europe’s 1.5 million timeshare owners taking their holidays there each year. I intend to put that right now and perhaps at the end of the summer season this is as good a time as any to do so.
One interesting statistic I picked up from RDO’s staff in Madrid earlier this year, was that over 13% of all inbound tourists to the Canary Islands are timeshare owners. This I gather was news to the Canaries Tourism Authorities, who were not aware of this fact and I think it is fair to say, it gave them cause to re-assess how they dealt with timeshare on the Islands and how the industry should be represented in discussing tourism, which is of course vital to the economies of these islands, not forgetting that timeshare owners will tend to come back year after year if they have enjoyed their holiday. Another interesting statistic is of course that each family on a timeshare holiday spends on average some euro 1588 per trip, mainly on food, dining out, car hire and entertainment etc. All of this, save perhaps the car hire, will be spent locally and represents money going directly into the local economy, unlike package hotel guests, who will expect to be catered for by the hotel and where much of the income may already have been taken by the tour group based outside Spain or the Islands.
We asked a number of our key members in Spain and the Islands to give us an over-view of the year and these can be summarised as follows:
• 2009 saw a definite downturn in new sales of timeshare due to the economic crisis hitting the major economies of the EU and also the depreciation of the pound against the euro at that time – not forgetting the UK is still by far the biggest timeshare owner market in the EU.
• 2010 has seen a gradual recovery in confidence, with buyers from UK, Germany and Scandinavia returning to the market. That, coupled with a halt in the slide of the pound against the euro has pointed to a discernible recovery.
• The sales reports for 2010 are encouraging despite the problems caused in the Spring by volcanic ash, the Greek economic crisis and measures being taken by most major EU economies to rectify the debt problem in their countries.
• Resorts are reporting 100% occupancy over the August period and some are already predicting 90% plus occupancy from October through to December
It would be wrong to conclude without asking our members in Spain how they see 2011.These are some of their views:
- Clients are becoming ever more sophisticated in their needs and expectations and developers need to recognise that and meet those expectations.
- The enactment of the 2nd Directive in February 2011 will require RDO members to adapt their sales and product to meet those requirements, which will assist innovation and give the purchaser ever more confidence.
- With the major EU economies getting to grips with their debt problems, the economic situation in individual member states will become clearer and further confidence is expected to return to the markets.
- The new legislation should sound the death knell for the holiday pack companies which will give buyers further confidence in the markets.
So all in all I think the Spanish market can look forward to an improving situation in 2011 and RDO is of course in the process of monitoring the development of that new legislation .