Timeshare occupancy strong

Hawai‘i timeshare occupancy proved robust in the second quarter, despite an economic downturn that has injured visitor numbers statewide.

Timeshare exceeded hotel occupancy by nearly 20 percent statewide, according to an American Resort Development Association’s Hawai‘i Chapter report last week.

The association predicts Hawai‘i timeshare will continue to maintain its high occupancy figures throughout third quarter 2008, evidenced by the confirmed bookings through the month of September reported by Hawai‘i timeshare operators.

Timeshare represents about 10 percent of the state’s total accommodations inventory, but is seen in a greater concentration on Kaua‘i.

“These figures demonstrate once again that even during downturns in tourism, timeshare continues to stand out as a reliable source of revenue for Hawai‘i’s economy and provide jobs for Hawai‘i’s people,” Mitch Imanaka, ARDA Hawai‘i chair, said. “Ownership is the highest form of loyalty. It is clear timeshare owners are using their scheduled vacation time in Hawai‘i because they have already paid for their accommodations. With the expense of their stay pre-paid, it’s easier for them to cover today’s higher airline ticket costs and overcome other economic concerns that are impeding travel to Hawai‘i.”

A separate survey, Analysis of State of Hawai‘i Timeshare Industry, says overall timeshare occupancy averaged 88.2 percent statewide during 2007, which was nearly 13 percent higher than Hawai‘i’s average hotel occupancy of 75.3 percent for the year.

The study, represents 86.4 percent of total timeshare inventory in Hawai‘i, revealed that timeshare job growth increased significantly last year.

“The high timeshare occupancy rates yearround essentially eliminates seasonal fluctuations in employment, which is a huge benefit to the workforce,” said Imanaka.

Timeshare employed more than 4,500 people statewide at the end of 2007, representing a 28 percent increase in jobs year-over-year for survey respondents. Employee wages, not including benefits or employment taxes, totaled more than $179 million last year.

The study also draws parallels between timeshare development and Hawai‘i’s construction and trades industry. New timeshare construction and refurbishment projects generated $203 million in capital expenditures in 2007, and that figure is expected to increase by more than 50 percent this year.

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