Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Ever wonder just where the idea for timeshares came from? Well, times shares originally come to us from the European travel industry of the 1960s. At that moment in time, Europe had recovered from World War II and thanks to the increasing affordability of air travel, Europe was again a travel destination for tourists worldwide. It was at a resort in Baar, Switzerland in the Alps that the idea of tourists owning the resort instead of just renting it for a few days was born. The initial experiment was a success in Switzerland, spreading to resorts in Italy, France, and Spain, but would it work in the United States? A property on the island of Kaui in Hawaii was the first to offer this sort of timeshare program in 1969. The success of the program there made it possible for the idea to spread to the continental United States in the early 1970s, beginning with Florida. Florida was already a top vacation destination in the country, so this was a real nobrainer. Noticing the success that Florida companies were having, California next followed suit. By the 1980s, timeshares were sprouting up in popular tourist destinations throughout the country. Timeshares were also expanding worldwide during this time. The success of the program throughout the globe was seen as a benefit to all tourists. The more wealthy traveler could spend their vacation in an exotic locale that was formerly off-limits but now featured resort properties while the average tourist could now save money vacationing in their favorite destination. In the 1990s, major hotel chains saw the success of timeshare companies and wanted a piece of the thriving business. Marriott was the first and many others soon followed them in the timeshare industry. This growth led to the multi-million dollar business we see today with over 5400 resorts throughout the world. The options available to vacationers has never been greater, all thanks to the owners of a ski resort almost half a century ago!