What began as a simple concept originating in the French Alps in the 1960s has become one of the more popular vacation options used by today’s leisure travelers: timesharing, or “interval ownership,” as the industry likes to call itself.
People purchase timeshares for right-to-use, where the buyer does not have an ownership interest but utilizes the unit for a pre-set amount of time; or fee simple, where the buyer both uses the unit and has title to a portion of that unit. Timeshare intervals can be exchanged at other properties, including hotels, condominiums, cruise ships, campsites or even recreational vehicles.
Hawaii is a highly sought-after timeshare destination because of its limited inventory and reputation as a world-class international resort area. Hawaii, in fact, ranks fifth among U.S. states in a number of timeshare resorts (behind Florida, California, South Carolina, and Colorado). Hawaii’s timeshare industry includes 68 resorts, 4,600 units and more than $276 million in annual sales, according to several tourism-research groups.
The demand for timeshares on Oahu, and the resort area of Waikiki in particular, is especially high. Waikiki has Hawaii’s greatest concentration of shopping and entertainment. The demand for timeshares in Waikiki exceeds supply. That means a timeshare property on Oahu offers maximum trading value. Timeshares are also available in Honolulu and the North Shore.
Oahu currently has about 21 percent of the timeshare market in Hawaii. Experts predict Oahu will lead the way in the growth of Hawaii’s timeshare industry. One industry insider told Hawaii Business magazine, “There’s potential to grow on Oahu. The only thing that makes it difficult here is there is not a lot of availability, not a lot of developable lands.”