Last time I was talking about the resurgence in Spain’s tourism industry in 2010 after 2 very difficult years and the efforts the Spanish Government is putting into reviving their position in the world rankings. I was going to major on the Top Tourism destinations 2010 today, but I was in our Madrid office yesterday discussing with Maria Rodriguez who runs RDO in Spain and Alberto Garcia, Head of Enforcement the progress of the new timeshare legislation in Spain.
In the context of the importance that Spain attaches to its tourist industry, it is almost incredible, that amongst all of the major EU tourist destinations, Spain is dragging its feet over implementing the new timeshare directive. The directive has been embraced by the industry and is urgently needed , where it should go a long way to curb the activities of the pack and resale companies that mostly operate out of Spain, so what is the problem?
Before anyone raises the point, it is not for want of lobbying on our part. The Legislative Council of RDO has a Spanish Working Party, who have been working away under the chairmanship of Eugene Miskelly to keep the Ministry of Justice in Madrid informed of the views of the industry, on the problems it faces and the need for this new directive. After what seemed to be an encouraging start, we now hear that it could be 2012 or later before this new law is enacted, so that whilst RDO members observe all the best practices and the new law, the fringe elements will be free to exploit the consumer for another year or so and the task of Alberto Garcia and his team will be made that much harder.
Whilst we know a large number of EU Countries have been struggling with economic problems and crises, it hasn’t stopped Portugal, the UK and Italy from implementing the directive on time and therefore improving yet further the protection for consumers and allowing RDO members to operate in well regulated markets. Why is Spain different? Why, when Spain is the no.1 destination for timeshare owners in the EU and tourism is so vital to Spain are they so slow? Spain earnt 52.5 bn dollars worth of receipts in 2010, which is 2nd only to the USA – according to the WTO. This piece of legislation could, if the Government so wished, be put onto the Statute books without any amendment whatsoever and whilst RDO would not be overjoyed at that, at least it would bring certainty to the market. With nearly 20% of all inbound tourism to the Canaries alone coming from the timeshare industry, does this glaring failure matter so little to the bureaucrats and politicians in Madrid, or is it that the protection of the consumer is not that important to them?
So what about those top Tourism Destinations – I think this issue is more important and I’ll deal with those in my next blog!