Many 'prefer holidays with relatives'
HOLIDAY travel started once personal income exceeded R5000, but many people, including the middle class, with greater spending power, preferred to visit relatives than go on a paid-for holiday, Southern Sun Resorts operations director Deon Viljoen said yesterday.
A recent survey by group buying website Groupon found that 53% of South Africans said they were desperate to get away for a midyear break this year, but that holiday accommodation was too expensive and the tough economy was holding them back.
However, about 84% said they were willing to spend between R500 and R1000 a night on accommodation.
Mr Viljoen said about 69% of trips taken by South Africans were to visit friends and family, while about 62% of these trips were within the traveller's home province.
Speaking at the shared-ownership investment conference in Sandton yesterday, Mr Viljoen said although the timeshare market was immature, it displayed immense room for growth.
While holiday travel started once personal income exceeded R5000, it was established once income exceeded R12000, Mr Viljoen said. "More than that, about 63% of domestic tourism value is captured in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape."
People who owned timeshare in SA were South African citizens, predominantly travelled by road and were on average 52 years old. If the industry were to succeed, it would need to entice younger participants, he said.
Mr Viljoen said younger consumers hired what they needed rather than buying them. "We have seen the emergence of trends such as handbag hire or car hire, where a group of individuals shares expensive, luxury goods such as Ferraris. This bodes well for the industry."
The industry also had to adapt and change some of its timelines - where it used to sell timeshare for a lifetime, younger people now also wanted an exit plan. "Younger people are inclined to buy timeshare for 15 years instead of a lifetime," Mr Viljoen said.
The last time this industry received a boost was in a time of economic crisis, such as the one we are experiencing now, Interval International business development manager Darren Ettridge said yesterday. US-based Interval International operates membership programmes for holiday-makers.
Hotels struggling to find occupants were forced to sell accommodation in a timeshare format, he said.
There were about three types of shared ownership programmes, he said. "Timeshare generally involves the buying of one to two weeks of holiday time, whereas fractional ownership involves about a month of time, while a private residence can be described as fractional ownership on steroids," Mr Ettridge said.
Although the industry had a bad reputation in the past, there were many reputable companies now selling timeshare. "It is a respectable business."
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