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St Kitts and Nevis' timeshare holiday market increases airlift

St Kitts and Nevis' economy benefits from airlift boost due to heavy dependence on the timeshare market. Sen. Richard Skerritt, Minister of Tourism and International Transport states that timeshare is an excellent opportunity for St Kitts holidays to grow

St Kitts and Nevis' timeshare holiday market increases airlift

The economy of the Caribbean island St Kitts and Nevis, has been benefiting from airlift boost due to the country’s significant dependence on the timeshare market. Sen. Richard Skerrit, St Kitts and Nevis Minister of Tourism and International Transport, stated that developing the timeshare market to its full potential could make the profits obtained from the St Kitts holidays market grow significantly.

“The beauty about timeshare,” he says, “is that the holiday is paid for already and the consumer is so happy that he is not prepared to give up his holiday, and that is what is driving occupancy… and from a government perspective, occupancy and economic impact mean everything.” Skerritt recently attended the three-day-long 13th Annual Shared Ownership Investment conference in Miami, Florida, as one of the several tourism stakeholders among 500 European, American and Caribbean delegates.

The Tourism Minister also pointed out that the Caribbean region is destined for further growth and development in the timeshare business, one of the fastest-expanding sectors in the world hospitality trade. “The Caribbean is the most ideal location for timeshare products,” he added “and we are ready to do business and to deliver value for the right price.”

Image by: lowcountrypen, on Flickr

A recent study developed by the Miami-based Interval International, which provides specialised travel and leisure services for the timeshare subsector, showed that Caribbean holidays are one of the most popular choices for holiday-plans in the U.S. Almost 50 per cent of the roughly 2,600 members who were surveyed admit that the Caribbean is one of the hottest destinations to visit over the next two years. “We see the growth and development in the region as very important and we are excited about it,” Skerritt told a forum held under the theme ´Emerging Opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean´.

What’s more, the 2011 Interval’s Membership Profile study confirmed that nearly one out of every four (which represents 23.2 per cent) of the U.S. resident members interested in getting hold of additional holiday time; prefer to invest in Caribbean luxury hotels and resorts. Sergio Torres, another panellist and the managing director of ELV Marketing, said that many developers and consumers are showing an interest in the Caribbean, noticing the huge opportunities for expansion in the region.

 St. Kitts
Image by: Christophe Harbour, St. Kitts, on Flickr

“A lot of people want to go to the Caribbean;” Sergio Torres said “they like the Caribbean but at this time there is not enough timeshare presence there... so now is the time for the developers to get into the act and come in.” He disputed that heavy presence in the timeshare market in St Maarten, Aruba, Saba and St Kitts would help the sector of the hospitality industry grow in other Caribbean islands.

Some developers in the Caribbean, who had suffered from slow-moving sales due to the global financial crisis, are now considering turning their business to the rapidly-growing timeshare market. “Those developers who are now stuck with their construction,” Torres said “some of which are half-finished and some finished... now is the time to convert them to timeshare and to retool their sales and marketing teams and create a new product.”

In Skerritt’s point of view, ‘established brands’ and the drafting of suitable legislation governing the timeshare market will help inspire confidence in clients and visitors, while planning their holidays and looking for St Kitts hotels and resorts. As a consequence drive sales will develop nicely. “The US consumers are very brand-conscious, especially in the small islands where you don’t have a great track record,” he says “so it is very important the brand that you introduce in the mix because it is going to have to drive sales and confidence.”

Davis Gilbert, the executive vice-president of resort and marketing, while speaking at the opening session of Americas at Interval International said that the prepaid character of timeshare will make St Kitts holidays a popular and stable source of income for the country, because people will still take holidays ‘no matter what’s going on in the economy’. “We have weathered the storm,” he told the conference “now it’s time to grow.”

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