Thai Vacation Ownership Association (TVOA)
Vacation ownership or Timeshare is the trading and exchange of the right to use resort accommodation e.g. hotels, condominiums for a certain period of time. People can typically purchase the rights to use the accommodation in advance for a period of 20, 30 or 40 years, and retain the right to use the accommodation for 7 days or morea year.
The Timeshare business appeared in Thailand in the 1990’s but subsequentlyall but vanished due to the problem of credibility. Unfortunately, Thai consumers had associatedthe timeshare business with the actions ofBlissher Inter Group, afraudulent pyramid-scheme company, and the creditability of the timeshare business operators also suffered as a result.
However, the timeshare business has now re-emerged in Thailand and business operators have been working hard to restore the creditability of the industry.As a result, the sale and use of Timeshare by the general public has seen significant growth since the year 2000. There are now more than 50 local companies incorporated into the timeshare business. In order to protect consumers from any unscrupulous operators and to regulate themselves, the timeshare businesseshave jointly established an association.
The Thai Vacation Ownership Association (TVOA) wasactually established by 14 timesharebusiness operators in 1997,along with support from RCI and I.I., the two largest vacation time rights exchange business operators in the world.The current President of the TVOA isMr. Christopher Huie, Managing Director of Tai-Pan Hotel.
The TVOA was not only established with an aim to protect consumers, but to also act as the catalyst in the development of the local timeshare industry to meetinternational standards. Another agenda of the Association is the promotion of public understanding and to initiate the generation of a law and regulation on Timeshare in Thailand to protectboth consumers and genuine timeshare business operators.
The establishment of the TVOA is regardedas a crucial step in the development of the timeshare industry in Thailand, especially when viewed in the context of other countries and regions where the business has already matured, and all these places have an established industry association.
All these efforts will lead to the establishment of business ethics to be the foundation forthe making of a new law governing the sale of Timeshare in Thailand. Finally, the creditability of the business will be raised as consumersare assured by the high standard of the profession and the protection from the law.
The Timeshare Industry
It is generally acknowledged that what is now known as Timeshare was first started in Europe in the early 1960’s with the sharing of vacation chalet accommodation between some families. They rotated seasons each year, so each family enjoyed the prime seasons equally. This concept was mostly utilized by families related to each other because of the trust factor involved in joint ownership, and no property manager. However, few families vacation for an entire season at a time; so the vacation home sharing properties were often vacant for long periods.
The concept evolved and grew to incorporate shorter time periods (typically a minimum of 1 week) of stay and corporations became involved in selling these rights of use to a wider audience of consumers. From the mid 1970’s the concept caught on in the United States and from then onwards has become an established product and method ofchoice for many family vacations.
The industry has developed and matured over time and the product itself has also advanced to incorporate greater flexibility and choice for the consumer. Aside from the traditional sale of weeks, many Timeshare companies now offer points systems allowing individuals and families to make the most of their ownership, and affording them the option to divide the use of the time that they own as they wish and to best suite their lifestyle.
Timeshare in Thailand
The Thai Timeshare Industry totals some 55 timeshare resorts with 1,600 holiday apartments producing some 728,000 bed-nights a year. Timeshare services 41,400 families a year and contributes a significant sum to the Thai tourism economy every year. It also significantly supports local tourism employment, with an estimated total contribution of over 1,800 jobs in Thailand, mainly in areas that have significant unemployment (these figures are based on the activity of companies which are members of TVOA).
Timeshare holidays are enjoyed by 91,000 consumers every year, with other consumers staying in timeshare resorts either as a result of trial memberships of timeshare products or pure rental of timeshare accommodation to holiday makers (directly or indirectly through package travel arrangements).