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Fri 29 May 2015 08:51 AM

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Dubai timeshare industry predicted to see 'Orlando effect'

MidEast's largest independent timeshare firm expects new Dubai theme parks to drive huge growth in market in 2017

Dubai timeshare industry predicted to see 'Orlando effect'
Dubai Park and Resorts. (Courtesy: Dubai Parks and Resorts)

The timeshare industry in Dubai will grow by 50 percent in 2017, driven by millions of tourists to the three theme parks that will open at the end of 2016, replicating the success story of Orlando, according to the largest independent timeshare sales and marketing company in the Middle East.

Mohannad Sharafuddin, chairman and CEO of Arabian Falcon Holidays, said the launch of Dubai Parks and Resorts will see the timeshare sector more than double the current growth rates of 15-20 percent.

"Dubai Parks and Resorts, the operator of Middle East's largest multi-themed leisure and entertainment destination, expects over 6.7 million ticketed visits in 2017. That's a huge number in the first year and will aid in the growth of the timeshare market here," he said in a statement.

He added: "The timeshare market will grow exponentially in 2017, surpassing the growth rates of 15 to 20 percent per year, and heralding a new era with an annual growth rate of 50 percent, primarily driven by tourists visiting these theme parks."

According to US media reports, Florida drew a record 97.3 million visitors in 2014 buoyed by an improving economy and theme-park attractions.

"The economic impact of the theme park on the timeshare market is relevant to Dubai as well. It will increase the number of tourists from Africa and Asia by leaps and bounds, making it the top timeshare destination in the Middle East and North Africa. It will also add more than AED14 billion by 2020 to the emirate's economy," Sharafuddin said.

Dubai Parks & Resorts will include Motiongate, a Hollywood inspired theme park concept based on major DreamWorks Animation and Sony Pictures movies, Legoland Dubai, and Bollywood Parks, an entertainment destination that will showcase the Bollywood movie experience.

"Dubai's location, significant existing attractions and strong tourism infrastructure position it well to benefit from anticipated strong tourism growth in the Middle East," Sharafuddin said.

According to the 2014 UNWTO Tourism Highlights Report, the Middle East is expected to be the fastest growing region in the world for inbound tourism with visitor numbers expected to reach 149 million in 2030 compared to 52 million in 2013.

Dubai is aiming to attract more than 25 million tourists by 2020 compared to 10 million in 2012.

Sharafuddin said the timeshare industry in Dubai is one of the most regulated in the Middle East and North Africa even though the law regulating the industry is still pending.

The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), the legal arm of Dubai Land Department, approved in 2008 regulations to govern the timeshare industry. These have been drafted by Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services, and RCI, the largest timeshare vacation exchange network in the world, he said.

The draft regulations include registration of developers, registration of timeshare management companies and filing of sales contracts and disclosure statements with Rera before advertising or sales commence, ensuring owners are entitled to an itemised budget for their timeshare, including revenue and expenses, and even restriction on the level of increase in annual maintenance fees.

"We welcome the regulatory measures taken by Rera to control and bring transparency among industry participants. They are very stringent and any non-compliance is considered a violation of the licensing terms and results in an administrative fine for the operators. Moreover, Rera does conduct training courses that our marketing and sales executives attend to refresh their knowledge and harness their skills," Sharafuddin said.

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