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BARBADIAN AND OTHER REGIONAL HOTELIERS and tourism officials are being urged to become more educated about the benefits of shared ownership (time share) to the success of their properties.

Neil Kolton, director, sales and marketing of Interval International, which offers vacation ownership exchange, travel and leisure services, stressed that he was disappointed more Caribbean hoteliers and tourism officials from the region were not in attendance at last week’s 17th Annual Shared Ownership Investment Conference in Miami, to meet developers, “many of whom are interested in investing in shared ownership developments in the region”.

Pointing out that “the Caribbean remains the number one destination of choice by prospective shared ownership buyers in the United States”, Kolton stressed that countries such as Barbados, Antigua, Grenada and other regional islands stood to profit substantially from shared ownership.

He said steady representation at the annual conference would prove helpful, particularly to those properties which experience low occupancies outside of the winter season.

“Having a vibrant shared vacation ownership programme will benefit the islands significantly. Surveys have shown that expenditure by persons who purchase shared ownership spend significantly more money on various tourism products and services.”

Kolton added that major hotel brands such as Marriott, Hyatt and Starwood continued to reap multi-million dollars from operating mixed-used properties, that is, offering both traditional hotel and shared ownership vacations.

“The demand for shared ownership is such that homeowners realise the product is good,” Kolton said.

He further stressed that properties in Aruba and St Maarten, the countreis with the highest shared ownership properties in the Caribbean, were undergoing multi-million dollar renovations and investing in new shared ownership developments, because they recognised the significance of shared ownership to their bottom line.

He said that while there remained a shortage of vacation ownership properties in many Caribbean islands, the demand for the Caribbean was such that “Inverval International has been working with owners of traditional hotels through rental programmes which enable shared ownership members to vacation at properties in Barbados and other parts of the region at preferential rates. (CCH)