Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 11)

geographically or economically nor to the legal and regulatory systems in the United States presents its challenges-especially when they're all adopting or amending timeshare legislation. Navigating the waters here demands a keen understanding of each jurisdiction's unique systems and processes and requires thorough follow-up with each individually to keep track of developments. Yet while the systems may differ across these nations, the issues facing our industry do not. Over the years, ARDA-Caribbean has managed a variety of legislative and regulatory issues affecting owners and developers across the region. In some cases, a lack of consumer protections led to the proposal of unreasonable policies that, while aimed to protect consumers, would negatively impact developers. Other issues include the introduction of burdensome taxes for owners, and construction fees that would discourage developers from further investing in the region. One key component to ARDACaribbean's success here has been in developing strategic partnerships with local and regional industry associations. We all share a common goal of ensuring the best possible legal and regulatory environment exists for the Caribbean lodging marketplace as a whole, and our strong alignment and collaboration allows us to leverage shared resources, helping us all achieve that goal. As the region continues to show interest in growing its timeshare footprint-one of the fastest growing sectors of global hospitality-ARDA-Caribbean has been busier than ever. The good news is we've firmly earned a seat at the table, enabling us to be involved in the legislative process from the onset.   Around the Islands Here's a snapshot overview of ARDACaribbean's latest efforts in the region. * USVI Over the years, ARDA-Caribbean's experience in USVI has been a textbook example of the benefits of strong legislative and legal representation, intra- and inter- industry collaboration, current industry research, and the financial support of ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDAROC). Success here has had a trickle-down effect, helping demonstrate to many heads of government within the Caribbean community the economic benefits of timeshare. ARDA-Caribbean's latest efforts here focus on proposed amendments to USVI's tax regulations. The group has provided comments that have been submitted to the tax assessor's office. * Jamaica Since late 2008, ARDA's state affairs team has been involved-at the Jamaican government's request-in reviewing proposed timeshare legislation to attract new development to the island. In early December, Jamaica's Senate approved the Timeshare Vacations Bill, facilitating the country's global entrance into the timeshare tourism market. The bill will become law once the government addresses funding issues related to regulating the industry at a date to be determined by the Minister of Tourism. * Puerto Rico It's been a busy year in Puerto Rico. As a U.S. jurisdiction, Puerto Rico is the only Caribbean destination with a timeshare law modeled after U.S. timeshare laws (particularly Florida's). As the industry has evolved in the 20 years since its adoption, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) saw a need to amend its timeshare law to incorporate the latest trends in the industry and make it more intuitive overall. ARDA-Caribbean has been an active participant in the external committee advising PRTC in the process of updating the law. Additionally, during this process PRTC proposed that a fee comparable to a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) be included as part of the amendments. With respect to protecting our owner's interests, ARDA and the industry have been working with PRTC to find an alternative that will still provide them with the revenue they need to properly regulate timeshare and comply with their statutory duty to promote PR as a tourism destination, without impacting owners' use of their timeshares. * St. Maarten In 2011, the Parliament of St. Maarten unanimously approved the drafting of comprehensive timeshare consumer legislation. Over the course of a year, the ARDA-Caribbean committee (of which the St. Maarten Timeshare Association is a member) worked to draft a custom act-no small feat, as there was no turnkey example to work from. But they didn't stop there. The group also decided to propose a consumer-driven regulatory body in an effort to improve upon existing structures. The draft was approved and submitted to Parliament, where it's currently making its way through the parliamentary process. * Cayman Islands The Cayman Islands are in the process of drafting legislation in an effort to regulate timeshares in the Islands. ARDA-Caribbean reached out to the Government to offer assistance, and they welcome the committee's feedback. Members will have the opportunity to provide comments early next year. A Bright Future Clearly, the Caribbean is a hotspot for timeshare right now. And as its star continues to rise as a valued sector of the hospitality industry, ARDA-Caribbean's responsibilities will continue to grow and evolve in accordance. And the team is up for the challenge! Merav Shikler is director of marketing and communications for ARDA. Her e-mail is mshikler@arda.org. Winter 2015 Developments - 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mini Digest 2015 (RCI)

Mini Digest 2015 (RCI)

Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page Intro1)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 1)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 2)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 3)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 4)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 5)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 6)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 7)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 8)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 9)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 10)
Mini Digest 2015 (RCI) - (Page 11)
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