INSIDER VIEWPOINT – Vol 3 / issue 5 / May 23, 2013
RDO – Resort Development Organisation
Francisco Lizarza gives the lowdown on RDO Spain’s successful press event .
Straight after the press conference organised by RDO Spain in Malaga, RDO Insider caught up with Francisco Lizarza, current Vice-President and former President of RDO Spain, who was one of the main speakers, to comment on the event.
How did the press conference go?
It was a very positive event, very good, exceeding our expectations! We had representatives from all the main local media in Malaga and the Costa del Sol, including local newspapers like Opinion de Malaga and Diario Sur, local TV and radio, and the two main news agencies, Europa Press and EFE. We were extremely pleased with the attendance and the interest they showed in what we had to say.
What were the reasons behind organising this kind of event?
We felt that RDO hadn’t had a strong presence on the Costa del Sol and it was necessary to explain that timeshare is just another tourism product which must be considered as part of the tourism industry and not out of it, and as such it is regulated by the Spanish Tourism Laws. We were very grateful to have the support of the local tourism authorities at our event to help us communicate this.
Was the image of timeshare in Spain also an issue to be addressed?
Not really, at least judging by the attitude of the journalists who attended the press conference. It was remarkable that not one of them made a single question or reference to timeshare fraud, or to the industry’s bad press, which has always been our battle. This must be a first! They were more interested in the figures about timeshare and its impact in the local economy that we had for them.
How important is the timeshare industry for the Costa del Sol?
Tourism, and within that the timeshare industry, is essential for the Costa del Sol. There are currently 90 timeshare resorts on the Costa del Sol – that is a third of the total number in Spain! Around 825,000 tourists enjoy timeshare holidays in the province of Malaga. These tend to be people with high disposable incomes who demand top quality. Timeshare’s contribution to the local economy is considerable, as the average family spends 2,349 euros on local restaurants, food, gifts, car hire, amongst others, and the industry also generates around 7000 jobs on the Costa del Sol.
And how is the situation of the timeshare industry in Spain at the moment?
Tourism is the only sector in Spain that is doing well during the current economic crisis, and within that, the timeshare industry does particularly well because of its flexibility. Timeshare properties have a higher occupancy rate than traditional tourism establishments, particularly during the low season. The average occupancy rate for timeshare properties in Spain was 74%. On the Costa del Sol, this was 64% in 2012, compared to 60% for hotels and 55% for tourist apartments.
What does the future look like for timeshare on the Costa del Sol?
New timeshare products such as condo-hotels bring an opportunity for local hoteliers to maximise their revenue. As the Director of the Malaga Tourist Board said at the press conference, timeshare is not a competitor of the hotel industry, but a complementary sector. Proof of that is that big hotel chains such as Melia, Hilton or Marriott have successfully embraced timeshare and now offer that option to their customers. We expect that smaller hoteliers will realise the potential and follow their example.
And what future activities does RDO Spain have in the pipeline?
We would like to organise a similar event in the Canary Islands, as this is the biggest timeshare destination in Spain, but we haven’t decided anything on this yet. Our next priority is RDO4, which will take place in Gran Canaria and will provide another opportunity to communicate a positive message about the timeshare industry to the Spanish public and media. We’re really looking forward to that!