Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Timeshare Revenue Soars For Accor

ACCOR Premiere Vacation Club had gross revenue of more than $100 million in the past year as the holiday timeshare industry rode the crest of a wave.

The company spent $60 million buying property around Australia and New Zealand in the same period, APVC's chief operating officer Jim Sabot said.

This brought the portfolio to 15 resorts and timeshare properties, and three more deals were due to be announced soon.

Club membership was growing by 6000 per year, Mr Sabot said, and the organisation - based on Queensland's Gold Coast - would have more than 1000 employees by year's end.

APVC is a joint venture between the Paris-based Accor Hotels and Melbourne developer Becton Group.

Industry insiders say that from Accor's point of view, the Australian-based timeshare venture is an experiment that will be rolled out elsewhere in the world if successful.

Under the tarnished 1970s model, owners bought a specific week in a specific apartment or resort in mostly inflexible deals, but the latest schemes offer membership of clubs that own multiple timeshare properties.

The industry body, the Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council, says the sector has undergone a "clear resurgence" in the past six years and is now the fastest-growing segment of Australia's tourism industry.

A soon-to-be released ATHOC report on the sector's economic significance says there are 73 timeshare resorts around Australia, and more than 125,000 owners.

Average annual net sales of timeshare property have grown to $173 million and the industry is expanding at an average 10 per cent annually.

APVC's portfolio now covers every Australian state except South Australia, and the company has taken on development projects as well as purchases and leases of completed product.

It has a focus on luxury, boutique-style properties, many brand new but some also in historic, character properties, such as Basildean Manor in Western Australia's Margaret River district, which it bought early last year for $4.5 million.

The company is expecting to spend a similar amount for renovating the National Trust and Heritage Council classified guesthouse.

In May, APVC took over a lease on a group of upmarket apartments at The Vintage estate at Rothbury in NSW's Hunter Valley, which are run under Accor's 4 1/2 star Grand Mercure brand.

Late last year, APVC announced its first deal outside Australia and New Zealand, and said it would spend $5.3 million developing 23 apartments in Bali.

Last month, it announced the $10 million-plus purchase of the Grand Mercure Puka Park on the Coromandel Coast, on the New Zealand North Island.

The timeshare resort has 48 chalets and covers 10ha near Pauanui.

In Victoria, APVC has upmarket villas in the Forest Resort at Creswick near Ballarat, and at Mt Buller on the snowfields.

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