A BBC business report last week “The Problems with all-inclusive Holidays” highlighted the increasing problem of loss of income for small businesses impacted by the rise in popularity of all-inclusive vacations.
The BBC reporter visited First Choice Holiday Village in Benalmadena near Malaga and spoke to various local business owners who have been losing money because of the all-inclusive hotel deals which are keeping guests onsite, so tourist spending locally is down.
The organisation Tourism Concern which is alarmed at the growth of all-inclusive deals was featured in the report. Speaking to the BBC, Mark Watson of Tourism Concern said, “Local restaurants in places such as Mallorca have had to close down because people are not going out and spending money in the local restaurants or shops.”
“Pre-paid, all-inclusive” holidays have soared in popularity recently, the BBC reported, because the benefits of paying up front for food, drink, entertainment and even childcare are obvious: holidaymakers can budget for their holidays ahead of time and not have to worry about paying while they’re abroad.
Timeshare resorts, however, have helped boost local economies and jobs not only during the peak summer season, but year-round. The average spend per family on a timeshare holiday is €1,588, with approximately €486 spent eating out in local restaurants while the average spend on food shopping comes to about €194 per holiday with car rental, parking and petrol around €200 per family. So while the all-inclusive holiday lifestyle tends to discourage local spending, timeshare owners are contributing to the local economy by eating out and buying supermarket-bought food to prepare in their self-catering apartment.
One prime example of how a timeshare resort can revitalise a local economy is the Hilton Craigendarroch hotel in the Scottish Highlands. The resort is part of the Hilton Grand Vacations Club and the village took off when the resort was built while more jobs were created for locals.
Because timeshares are used year round and therefore local businesses are less affected by seasonal fluctuations, it means there is a better chance of year-round employment for local residents as well as more of a 365-day a year demand for the local restaurants, shops and businesses.
The timeshare industry generates over €3.2 billion of expenditure each year and employs nearly 70,000 people, with occupancy rates throughout the year running at about 72%. In a survey a few years ago, 87% of owners said they were happy with their holidays; almost three-quarters thought their timeshare accommodation was better than the other self-catering holidays they’d taken. There are now well over 1.5 million timeshare owners in Europe.