Tens of millions of dollars pre-booked and waiting to be spent in Australia’s domestic tourism industry

Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council

Hundreds of thousands of Australians are desperate to travel to their favourite holiday destinations within Australia, according to the Australian Timeshare Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC), the peak body for Australia’s timeshare industry.

Occupancy forecasts for Australian timeshare properties point to strong pent up demand in all states with Queensland leading the way with timeshare bookings now at 73.5% for September and 75% for October. Some timeshare resorts in Queensland are pre-booked at over 93% for October alone. In NSW timeshare bookings are 67% in September and 70% in October.

Speaking at the launch of ATHOC’s latest Economic Impact report, Laura Younger, General Manager of ATHOC, said: “The combination of a summer disrupted by bushfires followed by the pandemic lockdowns have created very high demand for domestic holiday travel.

“Requests for bookings at timeshare properties have spiked when lockdown restrictions were eased, and demand has been particularly high in regional centres. This is important for regional towns that rely on tourism to survive but have been starved of revenue following the summer bushfires and the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Places like Port Douglas and Mount Hotham rely on tourism for their very survival. Dinner Plain at Mount Hotham, which was evacuated during the recent bushfires, became a year- round destination after the introduction of timeshare. Prior to COVID-19 tourist visits outside of ski season led to new businesses opening up at Mount Hotham, and the local economy grew as a result”, Younger said.

The Economic Impact report, conducted by AEC Group, found the timeshare industry contributed total direct revenues of over $958 million to the Australian economy in 2019, a 34.6% increase in direct contribution to national GDP since 2016.

Expenditure by timeshare guests/owners grew to $493.3 million in 2019, a 67% increase from 2016. This equates to an average expenditure of $3,538 per party per trip.

“We have known for years that timeshare tourists spend more money when on holidays than traditional hotel guests. Through the membership model they have already paid for their accommodation well in advance. Timeshare memberships offer flexibility allowing members to have the familiarity of returning to their favourite properties or travelling to new destinations.

“Our research also tells us that timeshare owners frequently use their timeshare properties as a stopping off point for holidays in other locations in the region”, Younger said.

The timeshare industry remains hopeful restrictions will continue to be eased allowing as many Australians as possible to travel domestically.

“Our industry is desperate to help the Australian economy by helping facilitate tourism to some of the hardest hit areas. Our members love the towns and regions they visit through timeshare.

“Once State border restrictions are fully lifted, we are hopeful the Commonwealth Government will support this by allowing travel, tourism and hospitality operators, including timeshare, to trade as freely as possible”, Younger said.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic timeshare operators have been diligently enforcing safe hygiene practices and social distancing throughout their properties.

“For owners who have been able to visit their timeshare properties during the pandemic we have seen a high degree of compliance with the social distancing and hygiene restrictions which have been put in place,” Younger said.

Ms Younger also pointed out that the timeshare industry has assisted members where possible who have been experiencing financial or health-related hardships during the pandemic.

“Timeshare owners buy into a community when they join our members. As such the industry has been rallying around owners offering various forms of support from financial, to free physical and mental health information, meditation and yoga classes as well as other

benefits. We’re doing what we can to help timeshare owners manage through the pandemic.”

ATHOC has recently published the industry-wide commitment ‘Timeshare cares’ confirming the measures all timeshare members are taking to ensure safe and hygienic premises for owners on a state by state basis.

About ATHOC

The Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council Limited (ATHOC) is a not-for-profit industry body established in 1994 to represent all interests involved in the Australian timeshare industry, and to work toward national industry best practice.

ATHOC operates nationally with an elected board representing a range of membership categories covering resorts, timeshare owners, developers and promoters, marketers, exchange companies and organisations providing professional advice to the timeshare industry.

On behalf of all Members, the board works closely with members, advocates, and with administrative and regulatory bodies throughout Australia to achieve the vision and mission of ATHOC.