Business

Rules needed to foster timeshares

BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large ?cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 26, 2012    

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ORLANDO, Florida — THE lack of proper legislation to protect developers and buyers wanting to do business in Jamaica and several other Caribbean islands, has been blamed for the poor showing of these countries in the lucrative shared ownership investment market.

Because some jurisdictions in the Caribbean do not have proper legislation to guide property development and to protect the interest of investors and consumers, those islands are unable to take full advantage of that subsector, said Sue Nickason, a principal at Canadian Resorts Consultants.

“What Governments in the Caribbean need to do is to let the developers drive the economy by putting in the necessary legislation or ordinances in place that allow them to legally sell vacation ownership,” she said. “There are a lot of places in the Caribbean where developers would do business if the proper legislative framework was in place.”

With the proper legislative framework, developers would invest heavily in the region, she argued. “These Governments really have to make sure that the legislative environment is there to allow the sale of various forms of shared ownership or recreational property”.

Nickason was speaking during the14th annual Shared Ownership Investment Conference at the Peabody Resort in Orlando, Florida, last week.

Tourism and Entertainment Minister Wykeham McNeill told the Jamaica Observer on Monday that the Jamaican government has been working assiduously to put the required legislation in place.

“I saw the first draft early this year and the second draft has been with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and we expect that it will go to the Legislative Council of Cabinet by the end of this year — the very latest,” he said.

After his appointment as tourism and entertainment minister last December, McNeill made it clear that he would be giving priority attention to the passing of legislation to guide property development in the country and to protect the interest of investors and consumers as it relates to the shared ownership market.

Emphasising the importance of the lucrative timeshare market to Jamaica’s tourism sector, McNeill said that a strong legislative framework will instil confidence in the minds of developers and the buyers in the lucrative market.

“We feel that the shared ownership business is very important to our tourism product as it adds a new dimension and will provide employment. It will provide great opportunities for us,” he stressed.

Conceptualised in Europe in the 1960's, a timeshare is a property, typically a resort condominium unit, which is owned by many parties, each of them with rights to use it for part of the year.

The Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Nevis, Aruba and St Maarten have seen a significant expansion in the timeshare subsector since the drafting of laws to govern the sector.

Key tourism stakeholders believe the Caribbean is poised for further growth and development in the timeshare business, one of the fastest growing sectors in the world hospitality trade.

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