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Timeshare (time-share) is a property or the right to use a property, where multiple parties have rights, such as the right-to-use. A timeshare property effectively has multiple owners who share the use of it at different times.

Most 'timeshare properties' are usually apartments, condominium (such as those in the USA and Canada)1, or those found in resort developments. There are timeshare properties available through some of the branded hotel and resort chains, as well as other online brokers and services.

Timesharing was first conceived in France in the mid-60s, but it took the oil crisis of the mid-70s before the industry really started to develop.

In the USA state of Florida, sales of holiday real estate slumped during the early 70s and the Americans sought new and innovative ways of selling their empty properties. The solution was 'timeshare' - or 'the sale of the use of one property unit for each week of the year', with prices varying according to size and seasonal demand.

Hotel chains soon realised they could dramatically increase occupancy rates, hence increase year-round revenue by mixing the way resort developments were structured  ie convert a percentage of the resort into a mixture of timeshare and hotel.

In 1974 the concept of 'holiday exchange' was developed where owners could exchange their vacation period within the resort they own with other timeshare owners throughout the world.2

Today, 'holiday ownership' or 'timesharing' is used by many families, both her in Australia and around the world. It makes a way to have a holiday at a considerable saving on accommodation.

So how does it all work?
The timeshare property is divided into 52 weeks. 51 weeks are available for sale, whilst one week is kept for maintenance of the property. An individual or group can then purchase one or more weeks as a fraction of the whole ownership. There is also an annual maintenance fee that is levied for any necessary upgrade of the property and its facilities.

This of course is not the end of what you can do with your ownership of the timeshare. You can use it, or share its use with friends and relatives. If a business has purchased timeshare, they can use it as a staff incentive. Demand by owners for greater flexibility has led to the expansion of the exchange systems and the point systems.

To find out more, there are a number of resources available on-line, some of which we have listed below. Potential customers and consumers should also ensure they do plenty of research before making any decision. Check the government body for your country such as 'Fair Trading', 'Consumer Advice' etc for any information they may have on holiday ownership and timeshare.


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Timeshare Resources - Australia

Timeshare Resources - International

1 Condominium is the legal term used in the United States and in most provinces of Canada. In Australia and the Canadian province of British Columbia it is referred to as strata title. In Quebec the term syndicate of co-ownership is used. In England and Wales the equivalent is commonhold, a form of ownership introduced in 2004.
(Condominium. (2008, June 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 4, 2008)
2 Australian Timeshare and Holiday ownership Council (ATHOC) - Consumer timeshare (Retrieved June 4, 2008)
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