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KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 28, 2014: Legislation is now before Parliament to position Jamaica as a strategic player in the worldwide timeshare vacation scheme.
Making his Sectoral Presentation on Tuesday, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill said a Timeshare Vacations Bill for Jamaica had been tabled before the House.
“The bill is designed to formally introduce the option of timeshare vacation schemes into Jamaica’s product offering,” he said.
Timeshare is a vacation product which was conceptualised in the United Kingdom in the early 1960s and has since developed internationally as a driver for tourism in destinations that have embraced it.
It operates on the basis of joint ownership of a resort room with owner having about two weeks each year for repairs and upgrades.
Timeshare partners must abide by an occupancy schedule which they may use themselves or make available to a family member or friend. Some businesses also buy into timeshare which they use as a production incentive for staff.
Minister McNeill told Parliament, “Timeshare has been shown to have many positive economic impacts in areas where it has been developed. Owners of time in a residential unit tend to vacation for a week or more at a time in groups of two or more. Timeshare owners become constant repeat visitors and behave more like members of the local community, in that they shop for groceries, dine out often and use local services more directly than hotel guests. “
He has therefore welcomed the fact that after some delay in the bill being tabled, timeshare vacations stand to become part of Jamaica’s tourism product mix and offers “very positive implications for generating new economic opportunities for Jamaicans in many areas of enterprise.”
This move comes at a time when Jamaica is being transformed into a year-round tourism destination instead of a traditional seasonal industry.
Minister McNeill said the transformation would create increased job opportunities and greater job security for our workers.
“What I want to emphasise is that while the winter remains the period of highest occupancies and the best rates, it is the growth of summer arrivals that is ensuring we have a stronger year-round performance,” he said.
Concurrently, Dr. McNeill endorsed what is termed a “Shovel-ready” project initiative which pre-packaged a number of investment opportunities that will streamline and expedite the process of investment in the country.
Noting that the project will target local and foreign investors, Minister McNeill said, “We are confident that this will add further momentum to the flow of investment into our economy. We expect it to further encourage investment in hotels and attractions in Jamaica.”