Sharetime Winter 2015 Published By TATOC

The winter 2015 issue of Sharetime magazine has been published by the Timeshare Association (TATOC) for timeshare owners and the 90-plus resort committees the association represents.

Said Harry Taylor, TATOC CEO and executive chairman: “This is the last edition for 2015 and will be the issue distributed to delegates at the upcoming conference in March – so it had to be packed with news, information and advice. I believe we have achieved that.”

The 32-page magazine is available to view online at the Sharetime magazine website and printed copies will be sent to TATOC individual members, member resorts and affiliates.

This issue will also be available for TATOC member resorts and affiliates to embed directly into their own websites for their owners and guests to view and enjoy.

This issue includes:

  • A Q&A with committee chairman Derick Manning from Rhinefield Apartments in the New Forest;
  • How video marketing is the way forward for timeshare resort marketing;
  • Rachel Littleworth who believes resorts need to focus on the needs of their current owners and not just on new members;
  • The return of Aunty Betty;
  • The latest from timeshare lawyer Alex Radford;
  • How Brockwood Hall is using spa experiences to set themselves apart from the competition; and
  • The latest news from our resort members and affiliates

TATOC urges all affiliates and member resorts to encourage their owners, guests and clients to view the magazine from the Sharetime Magazine website or request a printed version.

Printed copies of the magazine will be distributed to TATOC individual members, member resorts and affiliates over the next few days. You can order a printed copy by contacting the TATOC head office on +44 (0) 161 237 3518. Links to embed the magazine into websites or email are available by contacting Emily Collins on emily@sharetimemagazine.com.

The Sharetime magazine and website are kindly sponsored and supported by companies affiliated to TATOC.

Go Social With RCI

If you are an RCI member, you now have even more to inspire your holiday planning. RCI has launched a new Facebook page – facebook.com/RCI – which showcases the fabulous range of destinations and holiday experiences available to its members.

The new Facebook page provides a community dedicated to RCI members across Europe and in the Middle East region, featuring favourite holiday hotspots, as well as many exciting new destination ideas.

“Many of our members want to share their enthusiasm and passion for wonderful holiday experiences,” said Lisa Theanne, E-Commerce and Social Media Strategy Manager for RCI Europe.

“Lots of their RCI exchange holiday stories and photographs are shared in our member magazine, Endless Vacation, but we know our members love to go online to research holidays and to find out what their friends are doing through Facebook. Giving our members their own RCI Facebook forum will bring our growing community of committed travellers together.”

Posts will include travel tips, engaging educational pieces to help owners get the best out of their timeshare and RCI membership, a showcase of the fabulous places and amazing experiences available through the RCI exchange holiday programme, plus regular inspirational features for Facebook fans to watch out for, such as Wanderlust Wednesday posts.

“We are thrilled to be bringing our members, friends and families, together to explore what they look for in their holidays, and to share the great things about getting away from it all they enjoy so much,” added Lisa.

And you don’t have to be an RCI member to ‘Like’ us, ‘Follow’ us – or to get a glimpse of the RCI holiday world enjoyed by our members. Anyone with a passion for travel and a desire to get away from the work-a-day world can join in the holiday chatter and share our members’ ideas, plans and stories, plus many great holiday recommendations from the RCI team themselves.

Visit facebook.com/RCI now to get inspired and ‘Like’ RCI!

Go-Ahead For London Southend Airport Extension

A proposed extension to the new terminal at London Southend Airport, which will create more than 300 new jobs, has been given the go-ahead by Rochford Council.

The first phase of the terminal became operational in February and phase two will boost capacity for the airport, which is expecting to handle two million passengers a year by 2020.

It will extend the terminal building by 90 metres, allowing for more check-in desks and baggage drop off points and more security screening channels.
The airport claims it currently takes no more than four minutes for departing passengers to pass through security while arriving passengers can make it from the plane to the train within 15 minutes of disembarking.

That’s in stark contrast to Heathrow, where passengers reportedly waited more than two hours to clear immigration earlier this month.

London Southend Airport managing director Alastair Welch said: “We are very pleased that Rochford Council has indicated they support this extension, which will ensure that we are able to maintain the high levels of customer service we intend to be the hallmark of London Southend Airport as our passenger numbers grow.

“This is also further evidence of the role the redeveloped airport is playing in supporting the regeneration of the wider economy.”

Construction work on the extension is planned to get underway later this year.

Source: Travel Mole

GNEX 2012 Sets Attendance Record

Perspective Magazine’s Second Annual Global Networking Expo, GNEX 2012 – The Global Meeting Of Minds, took centre stage at the Ritz Carlton Cancun in Cancun, Mexico as 177 delegates representing 91 companies gathered to seal business deals over January 31st – February 2nd, 2012.

Attendees from as far away as Australia, United Arab Emirates, Malta and Brazil converged for three days of outstanding panel discussions, informative presentations and clever social events to produce the most unique, globally-focused industry networking event on the 2012 calendar.
Participants such as Francisco Neto, Executive Director of Rio Quente Resorts in Brazil, Ashraf El Zarqa, COO of Emirates Vacation Club and Ramy Filo, CEO of Classic Holiday Group gave resounding reviews of the event, as the combination of audience-driven panel debate, business meetings, speed networking and nightly parties created an environment for delegates to build new and lasting relationships.

Numerous business deals were finalized throughout the event as the specially-designed networking lounge and extended networking time built into the conference agenda gave attendees the time and atmosphere to create strategic partnerships.

More information about GNEX 2012 will be available during the next few weeks on the conference website at http://perspectivemagazine.com/gnex.

Support from GNEX 2012 event sponsors and supporters was crucial to the success of the event:

Blue Strawberry Resorts, Holiday Systems International, Sunset World Resorts, Dial an Exchange, Resort Television, Travel To Go, Interval International, Lloydshare, RCI, BuyaTimeshare.com, Customer Count, Emirates Vacation Club, First American Title Insurance Company, Hop-On, Merlin Software, Sell My Timeshare NOW, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific, Track Results Software, Travel Guard, YachtsE, Circle One BlueBay Resort, El Cid Vacation Club, Grand Velas, Mayakoba Residences, Royal Resorts, Unlimited Vacation Club, Alternative Ownership Conference Asia Pacific (AOCAP), Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC), Cooperative Association of Resort Exchangers (CARE), Canadian Resort Development Association (CRDA), The Pacific Institute, Ragatz Associates Fractional Interest Conference, Resort Development Organisation (RDO), The Association for Timeshare Owners Committees (TATOC), Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa (VOASA), Women in the Industry (WIN) and Christel House International as Charity of Choice.

Next year’s event is already on the 2013 calendar as GNEX 2013 – The Global Meeting Of Minds makes its first foray into the United States at the world famous Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California during February 4-6, 2013. More information will be available in the coming weeks on the conference website at http://perspectivemagazine.com/gnex.

EasyJet Reports Tough First Half

High fuel costs and taxation have taken their toll on easyJet in the first half. The airline has almost doubled its pre-tax loss to £153 million, up £74 million over last year. EasyJet said the higher price of fuel accounts for £43 million and higher passenger taxation accounts for £21 million of the increase.

Passenger numbers were up by almost 12% to 23.9 million with 59% originating from outside the UK, up five percentage points. Load factor improved by 0.4 percentage points to 85.4%. But total revenue per seat fell by 2.1%, partly down to increased passenger departure taxes and charges. Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “The past six months has been tough with sharply rising fuel costs combined with cautious behaviour by consumers and an adverse impact from taxes on passengers.

“Despite this difficult environment we have made strong progress over the past six months in implementing the strategy outlined following our review of the business last year.

“Our top team has been rebuilt and we continue to optimise the network by configuring flight frequencies and destinations which are attractive to business travellers.

“We have also made use of the commercial freedom granted by the brand licence agreement and delivered progress in controlling costs. Our operation is now robust and we are well placed to successfully deliver our summer flying programme.

“Our cash generation remains strong and these results show that the steps we are taking are already having a positive effect.”

Source: Travel Mole

New Role For Industry Veteran

Jelle Elkerbout, a 30-year veteran in the timeshare and shared property industry has left Holiday Ventures Limited, a main developer and wholesaler of timeshare and Holiday Club products in order to focus on his newest venture Nest Developer Services. This new company will offer:

• General consultancy for new and existing shared property  projects.
• Feasibility analysis
• Advice on legal structures and project documentation.
• Product development.
• Point of sale material.
• Introduction to and set up of trustee, escrow and stakeholder services.
• Introduction to exchange services.
• Cost cutting analysis.
• Sales and marketing services.

Nest Developer Services is also able to offer a unique and powerful team for turning management, marketing and sales advisory and planning into delivery.

Jelle can be contacted on:

jelle@elkerbout.com

Mirror Warns Consumers About Gary Leigh After High Court Decision

The Mirror newspaper has reported that “cronies of Costa conman Gary Leigh have been ordered to stop scamming holidaymakers by the High Court.”

The Mirror has for some time warned readers about Leigh and his Spanish-based holiday club empire. Leigh died last summer before the OFT began legal action against three of his companies and seven of his closest business associates and staff. The OFT believes timeshare owners went to sales presentation “on the promise of being able to dispose of their timeshares, with their maintenance charges, when in fact they were subjected to lengthy and high pressure sales pitches to be sold expensive holiday club memberships costing large sums, in some cases up to £12,000”.

They were promised up to 95% of their money back under a a “reclaim” scheme but weren’t told “the restrictions that applied”. Leigh’s reps also “often played on their fears that their children would otherwise be liable for timeshare maintenance fees” and buyers were denied the right to cancel if they changed their mind.

The High Court has issued enforcement orders which, among other things, “prohibit the companies and the individuals from engaging in misleading sales practices when dealing with people who want to dispose of their timeshares, and require consumers to be given cancellation rights in certain circumstances”.

Interim orders were obtained against two firms, Personal Travel Group Limited and Geo Demographic Market Research Limited, and against the directors Keith Barker (below) and Kimberley Bambroffe (above, with Leigh). These will last until the outcome of HIgh Court proceedings brought against the firms and bosses over alleged breaches of consumer law.

Final orders were obtained against five senior staff – Martin White, Jonathan Daniels, Mark Gales, Robert Knight and Lily Alderson. If breached, they could face jail, a fine or seizure of their assets.

Jason Freeman, Director in the OFT’s Goods and Consumer Group, said: “The enforcement orders put a stop to activities that we consider to be unlawful, and which we believe were causing serious harm to consumers.

“It is important that traders do not mislead consumers or exploit their fears in order to make a hard sell. In particular, these are contracts where we believe consumers should have been given cancellation rights and we are pleased that the traders have accepted that they have to give notice of such rights in accordance with the law.”

“The content of the orders was agreed by the companies, the individuals and the OFT, and approved by the Court.”

Source: The Mirror

Merlin Software For HOA Resorts Installed At US Resort

Merlin Software for Vacation Ownership, TATOC affiliate and the leading provider of cloud-based software for the timeshare industry, has completed the installation of its Merlin Software for HOA Resorts at 4 Seasons at Desert Breezes in Palm Desert, California.

The mature 21-unit resort, which is managed on behalf of the owners by Gold Coast Enterprises, had been operating without timeshare-specific software in place, making it difficult for the management company to handle owner and guest reservations.

The timeshare product is a quarter share ownership with fixed weeks with a rental programme for owners and HOA-managed stock.

After successfully completing the online form to see if they qualified for Merlin Software for HOA Resorts license-fee free, the management team chose which support package best suited their needs.

Installation was undertaken in October 2015 in just a three-week period with all data transfers and training undertaken online.

“This is the first installation of Merlin Software for HOA Resorts and we are delighted that the management team and owners association were so open to the software,” said Mike Pnematicatos, Merlin’s chief architect and managing director.

“With Merlin Software for HOA Resorts, no HOA should be using antiquated software, or have no software at all, when they could be using Merlin license-fee free,” he added.

Merlin Software for HOA Resorts provides all the functionality required by mature, legacy resorts with fixed or floating week ownership. This includes all reservations, ownership tracking, management fee billing and check in.

Merlin Software is 100 per cent cloud-based and served over the Internet on demand. Users access their Merlin accounts securely via a web browser anywhere with an Internet connection.

This means that resorts do not need a separate IT resource, servers or communication links to run their resorts – saving them thousands of dollars each year.

Qualifying resorts are able to access Merlin Software for HOA Resorts license-fee free. The only costs are a small set-up fee and an ongoing support package, which can be adapted to suit their needs.

Merlin Software for Vacation Ownership has been developed by Mike Pnematicatos who has over 25 years experience in the fractional and vacation ownership industry in sales, marketing and resort management.

Using the latest web technology, Merlin Software for Vacation Ownership is the complete software package for today’s hospitality industry and can handle all types of ownership product.

Merlin Software incorporates modules for sales, marketing, property management and front and back office. Its inherent flexibility means it can operate all types of sales activity and holiday product.

As Merlin is served over the Internet there is no requirement for any expensive communication links or set up fees and can be accessed from wherever there is an Internet connection.

Today, Merlin Software for Vacation Ownership offers the complete operations software solution for Enterprise and HOA Resorts.

BuyaTimeshare.Com Donates Food For Thanksgiving

Employees from timeshare re-sale advertising company and TATOC affiliate BuyaTimeshare.com donated over 400 pounds of food to the holiday food bank for Tampa-based Metropolitan Ministries.

Each year, company employees organise their annual food drive to support the work of the non-profit group, whose outreach efforts helped over 17,000 families in 2014 during the holidays.

“Our employees get together each year and decide to donate food to this very worthwhile group, and I’m so pleased to see them give back to our community,” BuyaTimeshare.com CEO Wesley Kogelman said.

“Metropolitan Ministries does such a terrific job helping the underprivileged in our area and we are happy to support them and remember how grateful we are to enjoy the advantages we have.”

Assisting the homeless and hungry has been the foundation of Metropolitan Ministries since 1972, when 13 Tampa churches from different denominations combined their community outreach efforts to form Metropolitan Ministries.

Since then, they have helped more than 500,000 families through Outreach and Prevention Services, prepared over 23 million hot meals and provided more than 350,000 safe haven shelter nights. More information about the group can be found at http://www.metromin.org

New Premises For Travel And Leisure

Travel and Leisure Group—Europe’s oldest and most well-established timeshare resellers—have announced their completed move to new premises in Sudbury town centre.

Having traded from 47-48 Ballingdon Street on the town outskirts for nearly twenty years, managing director Maria Mills-Farinas felt that it was time for a move.

“While we have been very fond of our Ballingdon Street premises—an old brewery full of character—it was time to take Travel and Leisure Group into the heart of town,” she said of the move.

“With approximately twenty employees, our previous premises weren’t suitable for our needs and we realised that our business would benefit from the effectiveness of an open-plan working environment.”

Mrs. Mills-Farinas continued, “For many years we have felt that Travel and Leisure Group would be better placed in Sudbury town centre, and we are very proud of and excited about our beautiful new office on East Street. It provides ease of access to both staff and clients, and also gives us the opportunity to have a larger local presence. Our staff will now be able to enjoy working in close yet spacious proximity to one another, which we believe will foster our team spirit and bolster staff morale.”

Operations manager Sarah Bond and legal and conveyancing manager John Pearce both agree.

“Now that our departments can all be working together in our open-plan environment, teams will be able to have much more cross-over. This means that we will be able to operate far more effectively as a business, and this will have knock-on effects for our new and existing clients. For instance, the Advertising and Buying departments will now be able to work in tandem to achieve more sales than ever before.”

With over twenty-three years of experience, the Travel and Leisure Group have made selling timeshare properties easier than ever before for people across the globe. Their multilingual team excels in finding buyers for timeshare properties across the continent and their size and success have placed them at the heart of European timeshare resale brokerage.

If you own a timeshare that you are looking to sell, or if you are interested in buying timeshare, Travel and Leisure Group are now welcoming clients at their new premises: TALAS House, 100 East Street, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2TP.

RCI Platinum Shines

The new RCI Platinum membership has been launched and brings more benefits than ever to RCI members.

The programme is a higher tier of RCI membership that brings many lifestyle enhancements to members which can be enjoyed at home and abroad.

Among the new ways RCI members can now get greater value from their timeshare ownership through RCI Platinum membership are the ability to upgrade units and request a resort change in the destination area up to three days before check-in; for Weeks members – the automatic restoration of full Trading Power, free of charge, for Weeks deposited up to six months in advance of the departure date; for Points members – the opportunity to extend the life of their Points for two years for the price of a one year extension, plus free Points transfers to another eligible RCI Points member’s account to combine and boost the exchange value of those Points.

“There has never been a better time to become an RCI Platinum member,” said Grace Salaman, head of product for RCI Europe and Middle East. “We will continue to look for ways in which to bring greater value, flexibility and travel opportunities to our members. We have calculated that, for the £49 Platinum membership upgrade, our members could receive more than £500 value out of the increasing range of RCI Platinum membership benefits available to them.”

The new benefits are in addition to the existing RCI Platinum membership offering which includes a 50 per cent off or 2-for-1 dining discount at over 7,500 UK restaurants with a free £79.95 tastecard membership; luggage tracking service; £50 off car hire or a hotel booking each year; a first sight preview of highly demanded Exchange Holidays; and £20 back on selected RCI bookings to build credits on account to put towards future RCI holidays.

For more information visit RCI.com or call 0845 60 86 380

Timeshare Scammer Ordered To Repay £30,000

The Exeter Express and Echo has reported that a timeshare salesman has been ordered to repay £30,000 under the proceeds of crime act.

Neil Mendoza and his colleague Michael Girvin targeted customers by claiming to be freeing timeshare owners of huge financial obligations.

They both received suspended sentences at Exeter Crown Court last year and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid community work after being found guilty of three offences of unfair trading. Over the past 20 months their finances have been examined by police financial investigators.

 

Mendoza was ordered to repay £30,000 by Judge Phillip Wassall, while Girvin will have to repay just £100 because he has no realisable assets.

 

During the trial, the jury heard how the pair’s Devon-based  company was shut down within weeks by Trading Standards officers.

The two men, who were former timeshare salesmen, targeted their previous customers and overcharged them to get out of their contracts.

Their business model was based on luring the victims to meetings in Exeter on the promise of joining a joint legal action against the timeshare industry.

Once at the offices in Marsh Barton, which were rented for the day, the customers were terrified with scare stories and fabricated statistics about how much their timeshares would cost in the future. Timeshare owners paid a large cash-upfront fee to exit their timeshare obligations.

The two men failed to tell customers they could have exited the timeshare contract themselves at a fraction of what they had been charged.

Disney Vacation Club Announces New Development Project

Disney Vacation Club has unveiled plans for a new project at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, located on Bay Lake at Walt Disney World Resort.

The project at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, when completed, will be the 14th Disney Vacation Club development and the second at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Current plans call for the resort to feature deluxe accommodations, including waterfront cabins.

In addition to the Disney Vacation Club project, other guest areas within Disney’s Wilderness Lodge are scheduled to undergo substantial enhancements and refurbishment, including new recreation and food and beverage options. More information and project details are set to be shared at a later date.

Disney Vacation Club, which is affiliated to RCI, debuted in October 1991 with a flexible, vacation point-based model rather than the traditional fixed-week timeshare model. Since its inception nearly 25 years ago, Disney Vacation Club has grown to include member families from all 50 states and approximately 100 countries who have discovered the joys of membership.

Earlier this year, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows opened as the third jewel in the Disney Vacation Club monorail crown, offering Disney Vacation Club members and guests the opportunity to stay in Deluxe Studio villas and over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows, which have been very well received by both Disney Vacation Club members and guests.

Disney Vacation Club members are able to choose from among a variety of vacation destinations, including a stay at any Disney Vacation Club Resort or at thousands of other resort destinations around the world. And, when they purchase directly from Disney, members also can take trips on one of the Disney Cruise Line ships or guided vacations with Adventures by Disney using their membership. Additionally, vacations at a Disney Vacation Club Resort can last from one night to several weeks.

Source: RCI Ventures Magazine

ASA Adjudicates Timeshare Solutions Ltd Case

KwikChex, as part of the Timeshare Task Force initiative, recently challenged two testimonials on the Timeshare Solutions Ltd website, questioning whether they were genuine as they also appeared on another website for a different claims company (although under different customer names).

Although Timeshare Solutions Ltd initially said the similarities were down to the fact that the two companies operated in the same timeshare relinquishment industry, they later stated that they were not sure if they still held the testimonials because they were provided in 2014.

They did, however state that they still held contact details for the individuals who had given the testimonials.

The ASA acknowledged that the company still held contact details, but as its Code requires advertisers to hold documentary evidence to demonstrate that testimonials used in advertising is genuine, it concluded that the use of the testimonials on the website was misleading.

As a result, the testimonials must not appear again and the company was warned to ensure it held evidence to demonstrate that testimonials used in its advertising are genuine and relate to its service.

For further information about Timeshare Solutions Ltd, go to  http://timesharebusinesscheck.org/timeshare-solutions-ltd/

RCI Adds Five Affiliated Properties In Japan

Holiday exchange provider, RCI, recently welcomed five new properties in Japan to its exchange network through an affiliation with developer Tokyu Corporation.

“This is a very exciting affiliation for RCI, and we are thrilled to offer our members five high-quality resorts located in some of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan,” said Jonathan Mills, managing director of RCI Asia Pacific.

“Japan is a favourite destination with RCI members and we’re confident that these resorts will be very popular. They are great additions to the collection of top vacation destinations we offer. I look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Tokyu Corporation.”

Big Week Hakone Gora is located in the heart of Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and a famous hot spring town less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. The resort is surrounded by hot springs and beautiful gardens, creating the mood of a home away from home. The modern Japanese units come with fully-equipped kitchens and in-room amenities for couples, families and friends to maximize their vacation experience in Hakone. An on-site natural hot spring is also available to guests.

Big Week Karuizawa is situated in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, widely known as a luxury mountain resort at the bottom of Mount Asama. Big Week Karuizawa is the perfect hub to explore the town’s rich culture and stunning natural landscape, as well as to enjoy a relaxing time away from the bustling city. All 30 units have two bedrooms and fully-equipped kitchens to comfortably accommodate families and groups.

Big Week Izukogen is located in Izu peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture. The area is surrounded by mountains and the sea, offering a variety of leisure activities such as hot springs all year around. The two-bedroom units are equipped with full kitchens and spacious living rooms for larger groups.

Big Week Kyoto is situated in Kyoto, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. Kyoto offers a glimpse of the rich Japanese culture and history, luring millions of tourists every year with its ancient temples and elusive geishas. The spacious two-bedroom units come with fully-equipped kitchens, washing machines, dryers and other in-room amenities to provide guests with a comfortable stay.

Big Week Tateshina is located in Tateshina highland, Nagano Prefecture, overlooking the northwestern slope of the Yatsugatake Mountain. Tateshina is a popular holiday destination during summer, and a hub for winter sports during the colder months. The resort is part of Tokyu Resort Town and guests have easy access to on-site facilities such as restaurants, tennis courts, the golf course and more. Big Week Tateshina is designed to evoke a sense of spaciousness and relaxation, and all units are well-equipped with modern amenities including full kitchens.

For more information, visit RCI.com.

Teenage Medal Winner Relaxes At CLC World Resort

World champion swimmer James Guy packed his swimming shorts and newly won medals for a sunshine holiday with his parents, CLC World members since 2007, on the Costa del Sol.

James, aged 19, became the first Briton to win the World 200m freestyle gold medal at the World Championships in Russia held in August. He also set a new UK record and collected a silver medal for the 400m freestyle, as well as anchoring the British 800m freestyle relay team which also won gold.

Proud parents Andy and Cathy, and 15-year-old brother Luke (all photographed with James), were to be found relaxing round the pool at one of CLC’s premier brand resorts: CLC Santa Cruz Suites, but James spent his time by the water’s edge taking time off from swimming!

He now has his sights firmly set on the Team GB Olympic swimming team which will head to Rio de Janeiro next summer, and his new fans at CLC World will be watching his progress all the way!

RCI Adds 26 Resorts In Second Quarter 2015

RCI added 26 new properties to its affiliate exchange network during the second quarter of 2015, raising its newly-affiliated property number to 58 through the first half of the year. The additions join a network of approximately 4,500 resorts across more than 100 countries.

“We continue to deliver on our promise to provide greater flexibility and choice to our 3.8 million RCI subscribing members by offering more travel options than any other exchange company in the world,” said Gordon Gurnik, president, RCI.

“Knowing that these resorts selected RCI to help enhance the vacation ownership experience they offer is very rewarding and a testament to the services we provide.”

The Grand Palladium Palace Ibiza Resort & Spa, situated on the beachfront of the renowned Playa d’en Bossa in Spain, is one of the most recent properties to join the RCI network. From here, guests can take in the famed beaches, water sports and nightlife that have become synonymous with the island of Ibiza.

Grand Palladium offers guests an enjoyable combination of outdoor recreation activities, fine dining, and entertainment options suitable for all ages. The property boasts more than 400 spacious and elegant rooms equipped with modern amenities and luxuries including three thematic a la carte restaurants and two freshwater pools.

Expanding its growing collection of resorts in India, RCI welcomed Mirasol Water Park and Resort in the second quarter. This property is located in Kadiya Village in Nani Daman, and offers a range of lovely accommodations as well as a swimming pool, a spa for massage treatments, and an onsite restaurant. A highlight of staying at this resort is the access to Mirasol Water Park for tubing adventures, a children’s water playground, water slides, water coasters and a wave pool.

The Registry Collection, RCI’s luxury exchange programme, welcomed Ocean Lodge in St. Simons Island, Georgia, United States, a boutique hotel ideally located just steps from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Nearby attractions include golf, boating and leisurely biking on the beach. At Ocean Lodge, old world elegance meets modern luxury with lavish décor and amenities throughout the property, which include a sparkling pool and spectacular rooftop terrace and lounge. Each suite boasts a full kitchen and a private verandah overlooking the ocean.

Kwikchex Joins Chartered Trading Standards Institute

KwikChex has become a corporate affiliate member of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

Established in 2010, Kwikchex is dedicated to verifying critical information about businesses including their standards. This information collected is then used to reassure consumers and to promote businesses.

The organisation has been successfully working for some time with Trading Standards Officers in support of identifying and taking action against rogue businesses.

This is particularly true within the holiday sector, and even more so, in terms in terms of timeshare and related products, where it heads up the Timeshare Task Force, set up to protect and provide redress to consumers.

The Trading Standards membership, which requires sponsorship from Trading Standards Officers and approval at a national level, strengthens Kwikchex’s relationship with law enforcement and consumer organisations still further.

Following recent meetings and discussions with senior police officers and government/official bodies, further news will be released regarding active partnerships with enforcement authorities – all with the objective of protecting consumers and businesses.

KwikChex provides investigation and verification services that deliver accurate online information about businesses. For businesses, that means it can tackle online defamation and distortion extremely effectively.

The organisation also works to protect consumers and takes direct action against fraudsters. It has assisted many victims of fraud and deceit – from individuals maliciously attacked online to major businesses who have been misrepresented.

KwikChex is the principal coordinator in a new European Timeshare Task Force initiative designed to tackle issues that potentially affect hundreds of thousands of timeshare owners and consumers. Working closely with bodies such as the TATOC Consumer Helpline, the initiative also marks the start of a new era reflecting the great strides forward that the industry has taken in quality and integrity.

Go Social With RCI

If you are an RCI member, you now have even more to inspire your holiday planning. RCI has launched a new Facebook page – facebook.com/RCI – which showcases the fabulous range of destinations and holiday experiences available to its members.

The new Facebook page provides a community dedicated to RCI members across Europe and in the Middle East region, featuring favourite holiday hotspots, as well as many exciting new destination ideas.

“Many of our members want to share their enthusiasm and passion for wonderful holiday experiences,” said Lisa Theanne, E-Commerce and Social Media Strategy Manager for RCI Europe.

“Lots of their RCI exchange holiday stories and photographs are shared in our member magazine, Endless Vacation, but we know our members love to go online to research holidays and to find out what their friends are doing through Facebook. Giving our members their own RCI Facebook forum will bring our growing community of committed travellers together.”

Posts will include travel tips, engaging educational pieces to help owners get the best out of their timeshare and RCI membership, a showcase of the fabulous places and amazing experiences available through the RCI exchange holiday programme, plus regular inspirational features for Facebook fans to watch out for, such as Wanderlust Wednesday posts.

“We are thrilled to be bringing our members, friends and families, together to explore what they look for in their holidays, and to share the great things about getting away from it all they enjoy so much,” added Lisa.

And you don’t have to be an RCI member to ‘Like’ us, ‘Follow’ us – or to get a glimpse of the RCI holiday world enjoyed by our members. Anyone with a passion for travel and a desire to get away from the work-a-day world can join in the holiday chatter and share our members’ ideas, plans and stories, plus many great holiday recommendations from the RCI team themselves.

Visit facebook.com/RCI now to get inspired and ‘Like’ RCI!

Lawsuit Dropped Against Silverpoint & CEO Mark Cushway

A criminal lawsuit filed in 2011 by various clients who had been counselled previously by Reclaim GC has been closed by the Instruction Court no 3 of Arona.  The court, after a thorough investigation, found there to be “no indications of the alleged perpetration of a fraud offence”.

Attempts have been made by Reclaim GC to infer to readers of blogs and articles that this allegation against Silverpoint and its CEO, Mark Cushway – which was brought by a third party and not by the authorities themselves – was more than it actually was. However this allegation has now been formally dismissed by the court.

Speaking from Silverpoint’s head office in Tenerife Mark Cushway, Silverpoint CEO, said:  “I am both delighted and relieved that I am able to put this stressful period behind me.  For some time I have been living under a cloud created by a business dedicated to destroying my professional reputation.

“It comes as no surprise to me that this was the ruling of the court. Of course it’s been incredibly frustrating that it has taken so long to get to this point, however, one must allow the process to happen and abide by the timescales of the judicial system.

“As a company we chose to limit our written content and publications on this matter until these allegations had been properly and fully considered through the legal process and the courts, rather than enter into a media war of words with parties seeking to simply make unsubstantiated comments or increase internet traffic. These allegations have now been dismissed in full.

“I am thrilled that the courts were able to see through this concentrated and prolonged campaign to discredit me and my company.  I have been completely exonerated and I am looking forward to reengaging with our customers who have been the victims of this sustained deceit, and to concentrating on providing them with what we do best – fantastic holidays in wonderful locations”.

The judge in Tenerife declared that Silverpoint’s clients were not misled, nor were there any facts to substantiate allegations of fraud.  It was also declared that any contractual disputes should be resolved by the civil courts.  However, the civil channels within the Honourable Provincial Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has dictated numerous rulings which absolve Silverpoint from the lawsuits filed against it therefore declaring the full legality of the contracts that were entered into.  This criterion is still currently being upheld.

RCI Adds To China Portfolio With New Affiliates

RCI has welcomed three new affiliated resorts in China to its vacation exchange network.
The properties are Shangshanqi Villa Resort and Taoyuan Hot Spring International Hotel in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and Bo’ao Holliyard Seaview Resort in Hainan Island. The signing of these agreements expands RCI’s portfolio of resorts in China to more than 55 properties.

“This is an exciting opportunity for RCI to expand its exchange options in Chengdu and Hainan, both popular tourist destinations in China,” said Gavin Cheong, business development director for North Asia, RCI Asia Pacific.

“Boao is a popular tourist town in Hainan among the locals, while Chengdu is gaining more attention among overseas tourists for its cute giant pandas and historical landmarks. We are confident these three properties are excellent additions for RCI’s high-quality exchange network, and will be well received by our members looking for a unique cultural experience.”

Shangshanqi Villa Resort is located at the foot of Qingcheng Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Qingcheng Mountain has been an important Taoist site for centuries, as it is believed to be one of the birth places of Taoism, China’s only indigenous religion. Besides the panoramic scenery the mountain offers, many popular attractions are easily accessible from the resort, such as the Jianfu Palace, Moon City Lake, ancient Taoist and Buddhist temples and other historical relics. The resort comprises 760 villas, and all units come with a living room and a full kitchen. It is 40 minutes away from Shuangliu International Airport via high speed rail, and an hour away via shuttle bus.

Taoyuan Hot Spring International Hotel is located 57km west of Chengdu Dayi Heming Taoist Cultural scenic site, near the entrance of Qingcheng Mountain. The hotel’s architecture and décor are strongly influenced by Taoism, in honor of the religion’s birth place. Its exterior resembles a traditional Taoist temple, with a yin yang bagua – a design associated with Taoism – prominently featured on the ceiling of the hotel lobby, and subtly integrated throughout the hotel premises.

Opened in 2010, the hotel is an hour’s drive away from Shuangliu International Airport and has a total of 132 guestrooms. It is popular for its numerous indoor and outdoor hot spring pools, and its proximity to tourist attractions such as golf courses, ski fields and cultural sites.

Boao Holliyard Seaview Resort is located in the tourism area of Qionghai, east of Hainan Island and 90 kilometers from Haikou Airport. The town is famous for the Boao Forum for Asia, a platform for dialogues among Asian government officials, business leaders and experts to promote economic exchange and corporation. The annual conference is held at Boao every year.

The resort has 384 luxurious sea view rooms spread over 18 floors, offering a scenic view of the nearby mountains and the sea of Boao. Each room is exquisitely furnished with a modern design and all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay, including complimentary wireless internet access. The hotel offers an excellent variety of recreational facilities, such as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a sauna, a fitness centre and a full-service spa. It is a 15-minute drive from Boao Golf and Country Club and Qionghai Boao Oriental Culture Garden.

“Qingcheng Mountain is a representation of China’s rich cultural heritage and the gem of Chengdu City,” said Chen Xiaolan, general manager of Chengdu Shangshanqi Real Estate Co. Ltd. “Given Shangshanqi’s superb location at the foot of this iconic mountain, our affiliation with the worldwide leader in vacation exchange introduces a new travel lifestyle and is a strategic and mutually beneficial decision. It is in line with the Chinese government’s direction to develop new business models for the travel industry, and it fulfills the needs of today’s Chinese consumers who are constantly looking for ways to improve their quality of life. I hope that through our partnership with RCI, we will be able to present the best holiday options for our members to travel around the world.”

“We are honoured to be in partnership with RCI, and we thank RCI for their confidence in us,” said Jack Hu, CEO of Enwei Daoyuan Shengcheng Tourism Company. “As the pioneer and global leader in vacation exchange, we believe that RCI will be able to successfully grow the vacation ownership industry in China. We look forward to working together for mutual benefit, and bringing vacation exchange in China to new heights.”

Ryanair World’s Largest International Airline

Delta is the world’s largest airline in terms of passenger numbers, but Ryanair carries more passengers on international routes than any other.

Latest data released by IATA revealed that Ryanair carried 86.3 million international passengers last year, making it the world’s largest international airline, well ahead of easyJet in second place with 56.3 million. British Airways lagged well behind in fifth place with 35.3 million, after Lufthansa with 48.2m and Emirates with 47.2m.

Delta Air Lines carried more than 129 million passengers on domestic and international routes, making it by far the largest airline overall.

In terms of international and domestic passengers carried, Ryanair was the sixth largest in the world and easyJet the eighth biggest. Aside from Lufthansa, they were the only two non-US or Chinese airlines to feature in the top 10.

Total passenger numbers – international and domestic:

 

Rank Airline Thousands
1 Delta Airlines 129,433
2 Southwest Airlines 129,087
3 China Southern Airlines 100,683
4 United Airlines 90,439
5 American Airlines 87,830
6 Ryanair 86,370
7 China Easter Airlines 66,174
8 easyJet 62,309
9 Lufthansa 59,850
10 Air China 54,577

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: TravelMole

Avente Stops Trading

A message on the Avante website has confirmed that the Avante Group of companies has ceased trading despite their “very best efforts and recent restructuring.”

This means they are no longer in a position to operate the holiday ownerships. As a result all inbound holidays are cancelled. Any exchanges already booked and weeks banked should be honoured, but speak to the relevant exchange company beforehand.

Owners’ exclusive rights of occupation of the boats is held in trust by the Trustee, Hutchinson & Co Trust Company Limited.

The group operates Avante Classic Narrowboats, Blu Marina Cape Verde, Dames de la mer Yachts in Turkey and Avante Motorhomes.

There is an ongoing court case due to the miss-selling of the yachts, and due to this, the Avante group of companies has a restraint order in place which states that the company cannot deal with any assets.

“This restriction and the length of time the case has been running has been more damaging than anticipated.”

This also means the company cannot go into liquidation and so, until the end of the court action, “everything is in limbo.”

As soon as there is any information available, the relevant parties will contact owners.

Update: Police Confirm John Palmer Murdered

A week after his death, police have confirmed that notorious criminal John Palmer was murdered. The week-long delay in realising this has left police with a “challenging” crime scene, a senior detective said.

Paramedics were called to John “Goldfinger” Palmer’s home in South Weald, Essex to reports he was in cardiac arrest on 24 June.

But a post-mortem examination on 30 June revealed the 64-year-old convicted conman had been shot in the chest.

Essex Police refused to comment on claims the case had been “bungled”.

Det. Ch. Insp. Simon Werrett, who is leading the murder investigation, said his priority was to find whoever was responsible and he would not respond to allegations made by a former Metropolitan Police chief that the force had been “utterly incompetent”.

John O’Connor told The Sun: “It’s one of the most terrible mistakes in policing I’ve ever heard of.”

When asked if the crime scene had been compromised because of the delay in starting the murder investigation,  Werrett said it was “challenging”.

“However, we do have a crime scene and we’re deploying our specialist forensic and search officers around that crime scene,” he said.

The East of England Ambulance Service, whose crews went to Palmer’s house in Sandpit Lane, said his death was not initially raised as suspicious.

Palmer had pre-existing injuries from recent surgery, and it was only once the post-mortem examination had been carried out that police realised he had been murdered.

Essex Police is appealing for anyone who was in Sandpit Lane on the afternoon of 24 June to come forward.

Palmer was jailed for eight years in 2001 for masterminding a timeshare fraud targeting people across the U.K.

He was cleared of handling proceeds from the 1983 Brinks Mat bullion raid at Heathrow Airport, but his alleged involvement earned him the nickname “Goldfinger”.

Source: BBC News

Timeshare Conman John Palmer Dead At 64

Former scrap metal dealer and notorious timeshare conman, John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer, is reported to have died suddenly in his garden in Brentwood, Essex – just weeks after he was told he faced 15 years in a Spanish prison.

Paramedics battled to save the notorious criminal, once dubbed one of Britain’s richest crooks, but he died at the scene.

Palmer, 64, was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2001 after amassing an estimated £300 million in a massive timeshare fraud which ripped off thousands of British holidaymakers.

Spanish authorities believe he continued to run the crime empire from his U.K. prison cell and had recently charged him with fraud, firearm possession and money laundering. He is said to have told his friends that he was dreading returning to jail as he has recently been suffering from health problems, including a heart scare.

He had been on bail for eight years after he was arrested by armed police in Tenerife in July 2007. In May this year he was finally charged as part of a 15-year Spanish investigation.

Ten other alleged members of his criminal gang, including partner Christina Ketley and nephews Andrew Palmer and Darren Morris, were also charged.

Palmer was nicknamed Goldfinger after being accused of handling the gold from the £26million Brink’s-Mat robbery at Heathrow in 1983 – a crime for which he was cleared of responsibility.

Following the high-profile trial, he moved to Tenerife, where he embarked on his timeshare scam.

He was jailed for eight years and served half of his sentence, living between Tenerife and Britain following his jail time.