ORLANDO, Florida — THE Caribbean is the international destination of choice for US leisure travellers in the timeshare business, according to a study commissioned by the Miami-based Interval International, which provides travel and leisure services particularly on the timeshare subsector.
According to the findings of the survey— which were obtained from interviews conducted online with a national sample of 810 prequalified active leisure travellers in the US this year — 63 per cent of the respondents had travelled to the Caribbean over the past year.
Additionally, 64 per cent of the US residents interested in acquiring vacation time cite the region as the most preferred destination to visit over the next two years, the study said.
The findings of the survey were released during the 14 Annual Shared Ownership Investment Conference held at the Peabody Resort in Orlando, Florida, from September 18 to 20.
Neil Kolton, director of the Caribbean and Florida Resorts and Sales at Interval International, later told journalists that the Caribbean market is very important to his company, which has 2,700 affiliated resorts in more than 75 countries.
He expressed confidence that, in coming years, the timeshare subsector in the Caribbean will continue on a path of growth.
“If you look over the last 1O years or so, the Caribbean continues to be the number one highly demanded international travel destination for our members and we expect that to continue,” he said.
He noted that roughly half of US Interval's members see the Caribbean as the preferred international destination they want to visit over the next two years.
“Clearly it's a market people want to go to,” Kolton stressed.
The Caribbean Islands of Aruba, St Maarten, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas have the highest concentration of the timeshare business in the region.
“Our members want to engage in a variety of activities when on vacation, and so they want to be involved in shopping, sightseeing, water sports, golf, a nice fitness centre... a lot of things that cater to their needs and so the Caribbean is a good option,” Kolton explained.
More than 400 delegates from Europe, the US and the Caribbean attended the three-day conference which ended last Thursday.
And speaking at the opening session on Tuesday, Howard Nusbaum, the president and chief executive officer of the American Resort Development Association noted that in 2010 timeshare sales worldwide was estimated at US$14 billion across the 5,325 resorts in 106 countries.
The subsector, he added, employs nearly 500,000 globally.