New regulations governing the timeshare industry in the UAE have been approved and the decision is expected to attract international players in the vacation ownership industry to the country.
While the specifics of the regulatory framework were not revealed, insiders said the move opens the door for new investment.
Abdul Wahab Al Halabi, COO of Dubailand, announced at the Vacation Ownership Investment Conference 2008: “The regulations have been approved and will be unfolded in due course. This is something we had been waiting for the past four years. The mechanisms will come with time but we are very excited to enter a new era.”
Halabi also announced Dubailand would be an important player in the timeshare industry.
“Resorts will be built around parks that are coming up. We cannot reveal the exact figures but timeshare properties will be around Aqua Duniya, Lifestyle City and Wild Wadi, to name a few,” he said.
Industry players have welcomed the move and see opportunities and growth potential in the sector, which encourages holidaymakers to own shares of a vacation home with other investors.
Al Mohannad Sharafuddin, founder of Arabian Falcon Holidays, felt the regulations will lead to competition, which would be good for the industry. “We have enjoyed our honeymoon period and I realise that now is the time for big players. We are not worried. On the contrary, competition has always been good and the same will happen for the timeshare industry in the UAE. Now, we need more investors to come in so that the maximum can be done.”
A few, however, expressed some concern. Matthew E Avril, president and managing director of operations, Starwood Vacation Ownership, said: “I’m concerned about the rate at which opportunities will be realised but now the regulations are in place, the timeshare industry seems on a strong platform in the UAE.”
Dubai is seen as a huge market for timeshare properties. David Clifton, managing director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Interval International, said: “More than 15 million annual tourists are expected by 2015 in Dubai and 20 per cent are expected to stay in villas or apartments rather than hotels. For such people timeshare properties are a good option.”
15m Tourists are expected to visit Dubai annually by 2015. Of them, 20 per cent are expected to stay in villas or apartments rather than hotels.
Timeshare rules to lure investors