Taking a vacation should never be a “maybe”, it’s one of life’s necessities – so choosing a destination should be like escaping to your very own piece of paradise. Whether its relaxing in luxurious surroundings, exploring new adventures or returning to favourite retreats – making the discerning vacation choice means living life the way it’s meant to be lived with time for your family and friends, and most importantly yourself.
‘Vacation Ownership continues to be a great way to ensure quality annual holidays’ – this is one of the key findings of the recent Global Omnibus survey conducted by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) International Foundation (AIF), which was conducted across 18 countries and 6 different continents.
The survey revealed that vacation owners spend more time on holiday than their non-owner counterparts, and are clearly influenced by the commitment that vacation ownership brings to rejuvenating themselves and spending quality family time in memorable destinations.
Vacation owners enjoy more holidays
On average South African vacation owners spend 6.5 more days a year on holiday than their non-owner counterparts and benefit from on average 20.6 days annually, while non-owners only experience a shorter 14.1 days.
As one of the world’s leading shared vacation ownership markets, South Africa has resonated the sustained vibrancy of the global industry and has redefined vacations and leisure travel for South African holidaymakers. Today it has a significant footprint in the tourism and hospitality sectors and boasts a mature R3.5 billion per annum industry with 500 000 owners who currently participate in vacation ownership at more than 200 resorts, according to the Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa (VOASA).
Alex Bosch, VOASA spokesperson, said that a key driving factor to the success of the market is the constant product innovation developed in response to consumer preferences.
“Having the right mix of products to meet individual lifestyle needs, coupled with a premium portfolio of resorts in the country’s most sought after locations has laid a solid foundation for the industry,” adds Bosch.
It’s like owning your own dream holiday home
With shared vacation ownership, it’s like owning your own dream holiday home wherever you want that home to be each year, but without the hassle and responsibility of the upkeep. From luxury apartments with breath-taking sea views to rustic cabins in tranquil mountain settings – you are guaranteed to satisfy your wanderlust.
With a plethitude of magnificent resorts, owners get to vacation like never before by simply picking a retreat that resonates with their vacation palette, and it comes with a certain sense of security knowing that your next holiday is always just around the corner.
Many owners will vouch for the fact that it’s the ‘home-away-from-home’ feeling that makes vacation ownership so appealing. Large floor plans with spacious bedrooms, lounges and modern kitchen’s that are fully equipped with all the necessity appliances, add convenience and comfort to your family getaway.
Conventional Timeshare vs Vacation Clubs
While the sales model has transformed over the years to meet the ever-changing needs of holidaymakers, the founding principal of offering quality vacations with spacious accommodation and top notch amenities in the most sought after locations has remained constant for over 4 decades.
“Choosing a model that best suits your lifestyle and vacation aspirations is an important consideration before purchasing,” explains Bosch.
Conventional timeshare ownership entails the payment of an upfront sum for a fully furnished accommodation plus yearly maintenance fees. Depending on the agreement, owners either own the rights to a specific, fixed week (for example 1 – 7 January each year) or the rights to a floating arrangement where you can visit for a week within a period each year (for example a week between the months June and August every year).
Vacation Clubs are a newer variation of the conventional timeshare model and presented an opportunity to invigorate the product offering. Instead of purchasing the rights to a specific unit, vacation club members pay an upfront sum to purchase a number of points, which can be redeemed for different vacations each year. Annual resort maintenance fees still apply, but are not subject to any profit. The number of points translate to different types of vacations based on the desirability of the resort’s location and the time of the year.
Optimistic Future for the Industry
Of the 18 countries surveyed, South Africa is among the top 8 countries where acquisitions of vacation ownership from new sales continues to be strong. South Africa also ranked 5th highest in vacation ownership, and 4th in terms of future purchase interest.
VOASA is very optimistic about the future of the industry, noting a property upgrade investment of more than R500 million over the past five years. Bosch says that resort development will continue to play a key role in shaping the future.
This means an ever-expanding choice of accommodation, amenities, locations, pricing and floor plans with the added benefit of access to a wider global portfolio of more than 4 000 resorts through exchange companies such as RCI.
The investment is a commitment to ensuring that there will always be a bucket-list of luxury resort destinations waiting to be explored at some of the most recognised and established names in hospitality and resort developments. These include international players Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott as well as local companies, Tsogo Sun and Sun International among others.
“Our resorts are regarded as among the best in the world and consistently win awards for quality of accommodation and overall holiday experiences that range from sun drenched beaches to the splendour of the mountains and truly African bush experiences. It is evident that the growing trend towards the benefits of shared vacation ownership will continue to carve the path for holidaymakers to make the discerning choice when it comes to their vacations,” concludes Bosch.