The real idea of timesharing began in the 1960s in the French Alps. In 1970’s the timeshare concept was introduced to American developers who were unable to sell their units due to the recession. Rather than selling a year round resort condominium unit to one family, developers divided each unit into 52 one-week intervals and this allowed Americans an opportunity to experience private owned resort vacation. Timesharing in its definition is a purchase of the right of use of holiday accommodation for a period of time each year for a specific number of years. It is based on the simple concept of cost sharing.
However, over a period of time, some timeshare members wanted to experience a variety of different resort. As such, in 1974, with the creation of Vacation Exchange, it offered variety of flexibility through a global system of affiliated resort where a group of timeshare members take turns to enjoy accommodation at each other’s resorts, resulting in rapid industry growth. As the vacation ownership concept gained popularity, resort also started selling floating time – where owners reserve their weeks each year on a first come, first serve basis.
Marriot entered the industry in 1984. The entrance of the first major hotel brand improved the image of the industry. The 1990s were dominated by the entrance of additional hospitality and hotel brands including Hilton, Disney, Hyatt and Starwood. The entrance of brands combined with increasing consumer demand led to improved product and service level standards.
Timeshare in Malaysia
In Malaysia, the timeshare was initiated in 1983. However, owing to poor marketing practices and in order to protect the consumer, the government in 1992 has regulated it under section 84 of the companies Act 1965 and the imposition of new legislation has changed the nature of the industry. All timeshare companies had to submit a Trust Deed and Prospectus to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (“CCM”) for approval before they could sell timeshare. On 31 January 2017, the new Interest Schemes Act 2016 came into force to provide for a complete and comprehensive legal framework for interest schemes in Malaysia which include timeshare.
Today, timesharing is a natural extension of the tourism industry and a number of companies, including subsidiaries of listed companies and hotel chains have ventured into this industry to tap the growth of this industry. Presently, there are about six to seven timeshare companies in this country with approximately 190,000 members.
Buying a timeshare is an investment in a lifestyle. Through holiday timeshare, members are actually securing their future holidays at quality resorts and hotels around the world at today’s price. What used to be a vacation option for a select few is now enjoyed by millions of people in countries around the world.