These last few weeks we have seen floods and fires in Australia, earthquake in New Zealand, the old regimes in Tunisia and Egypt falling to popular uprisings, problems in other North African States, the Gulf States and Saudia Arabia and of course what looks set to be a very nasty Civil War in Libya. On top of this we have just had the news of the severe earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
It was pointed out to me recently by Dimitris Manikis of RCI, that European timeshare owners were the fortunate ones, compared to package holiday-makers or second home owners in North Africa – the region is a popular holiday destination. The reason he pointed out that timeshare owners were fortunate, arose from the fact that all 1312 timeshare resorts covered by our members are in locations that have stable government and are not in general prone to the extremities of weather, geological or even political upheavals we have been seeing recently.
Let’s face it, if you have booked your family holiday to a North African destination, you are bound to be concerned at this stage as to whether it will be safe for you and yours to be going there this summer and no doubt you will be studying fairly closely the terms and conditions of your booking to see what opportunities you have for cancelling if the situation deteriorates. This is not to say that all resorts in these areas are subject to these problems, indeed the Red Sea area seems to have escaped the political upheavals, but nonetheless these problems leave a lurking doubt in one’s mind.
Even more worrying, if you have invested substantial sums of money into a property in one of these locations, as many have, you will be wondering how safe that investment is at the present time and whether it will be possible to sell it on if the need should arise – worrying times indeed.
Of course, should timeshare owners be even more nervous about travelling anywhere at this time, then those lucky ones owning in their home country – as here in the UK where there are some 142 resorts – have no such worries, and no doubt demand for home resorts will be exceptionally high this year.
I was also interested to see the recent announcement of the surcharges being put onto holidays by the big UK tour companies for this summer and these certainly seemed substantial in the circumstances. No outcry from the travel press I note, yet timeshare maintenance fees go up because wages are raised universally in Spain as happened a couple of years ago and the press are in full cry against the abuses of the timeshare industry! Maybe there are some double standards at play here by our friends in the media? As it is, surcharges for this sort of situation, don’t arise in our industry and indeed one RDO developer member has managed to bring maintenance fees down this year.
I don’t want to paint an over-rosy picture here, we still have to cope with threatened strike problems with airlines and airports this summer, which could affect owners, still I never said it was a perfect world!