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Spotlight: Brazil & Colombia

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Spotlight: Brazil & Colombia

BY JUDY KENNINGER, RRP  

 Brazil Blog Image 

Brazil 

Just a couple of years ago, Brazil was the darling of the global economy.  Today, Brazil is facing some tougher times through political turmoil, a high inflation rate and a high unemployment rate.   Marcos Agostini, Interval International’s senior vice president of resort sales and business development for Latin America, has confidence that what has come down will eventually go back up, saying he is “positive the tourism sector will expand in 2016.”

There are many factors contributing to Brazil’s rebound.  First, there’s the drop in value of the Real—Brazil’s currency—which is less expensive for in-bound international visitors. It also makes Brazilian real estate more attractive to investors. Brazil is also set to host the 2016 summer Olympics, providing positive exposure to the country.  With a population of more than 200 million and an important middle class, there’s widespread opportunity for development.

Colombia 

Considered one of the world’s most bio diverse places, Colombia has a lot to offer—with Caribbean and Pacific beaches, scenic Andean mountains, and cosmopolitan cities for shopping and dining. However, Colombia is often generalized as an unsafe travel destination due to its past, but improved security has already resulted in a boom in tourism, and continuing this could clear the way for the industry to grow exponentially.

In 2010, just 2.6 million travelers visited Colombia, but in 2014, that figure almost doubled to 4.9 million, according to ProColombia, the government’s tourism promotion agency. It hopes to welcome 6 million visitors ready to spend $6 billion by 2018. Timesharing is poised to attract its share of travelers, both domestic and international, says Agostini. “We’re very excited about Colombia. The infrastructure has improved, and we’re finally seeing investments come to fruition.”

Read more in Developments. 

Market Watch: Cuba on the Rise

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Market Watch: Cuba on the Rise  

By Tomas Acevedo, ARDA State Affairs

Cuba Cup 

It’s been more than a year since the Obama administration announced new rules easing trade and travel restrictions against Cuba, as part of the move toward normalizing relations with the country. Since that time, Americans have been able to travel to the island, provided the trip serves a religious, educational, humanitarian, journalistic, or other approved purpose. In fact, U.S. airlines are now allowed to fly scheduled routes to Cuba for the first time in decades, yet Americans still can’t travel to Cuba purely for travel’s sake.

It’s clear that Americans want to visit Cuba now—with its still frozen-in-time culture—before it loses its old-world charm. According to the travelhorizons survey released by marketing services firm MMGY Global, 46 percent
of travelers from the United States who
are likely to visit a Caribbean destination during the next two years would be willing to change their vacation plans to go to Cuba instead. And 19 percent of U.S. adults said they would consider taking a vacation to Cuba during the next two years.

Further, the American Society of Travel Agents estimates that more than 500,000 American cruise travelers would visit Cuba within the first two years—with another one million leisure travelers coming by air. Cuba is ready for business to increase in their travel and tourism space, where they see a lot of opportunity for growth. 

And with all the buzz around this island, it’s only a matter of time before we’re talking timeshare there, too.  Cuba doesn’t currently have timeshare legislation in the country, but with Meliá Vacation Club selling a travel club-type product in the country, it demonstrates they’re open to this new form of business in the travel sector. It’ll likely still take some years—and fully lifted sanctions—before the timeshare sector starts to build a footprint in Cuba, but for those with interest in the area, now is probably a good time to start registering company trademarks and logos, to be at the ready when the time comes. To learn more about the potential of timeshares in Cuba, read the full article in the February Developments.

 

ARDA World – We’ve Got a Great Schedule!

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ARDA World – We’ve Got a Great Schedule!  

 2016 ARDA World Banner Logo 

Don’t miss our jam-packed schedule of events while you are attending ARDA World this May 1-5, 2016 in Hollywood, Florida. Mark your calendars for these important events:

KEY EVENTS  

• Sunday, May 1: AIF Open Golf Tournament 
 
• Monday night, May 2: Opening reception in the Exhibit Hall 
 
• Monday night: All Attendee Welcome Party, sponsored by RCI 
 
• Tuesday morning, May 3: Keynote speaker, sponsored by RCI 

• Tuesday night: Interval International’s Party with a Cause (at LIV nightclub, Fontainebleau hotel) 

• Wednesday night, May 4: Awards Gala with presenting sponsor, American Express  
• Thursday morning, May 5: Breakfast of Champions, sponsored by Hilton Grand Vacations 


SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS 

• Monday is Key Constituent Day again! This is the day for ARDA’s most engaged and involved members—don’t miss important Committee, Council, Taskforce, and Forum meetings.

Monday also features two targeted educational programming tracks: HR and Fundamentals sessions.

• Our keynote speaker is on Tuesday morning (10:30 am-12:00 pm). It’s Jonathan Perelman, former Vice President of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures & former Global Lead for Industry Relations at GoogleHe will discuss the future of digital marketing. 

• “Meet the Leaders” General Session is on Tuesday (4:00pm-5:00pm).

Get all the very latest at www.arda.org/convention, and see you soon in sunny south Florida! 

 

ARDA World – Are You Ready?

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ARDA World – Are You Ready? 

 Hollywood, FL
 

ARDA World 2016, ARDA’s annual convention, is just over a month away.  Now’s the time to make sure you are registered and your travel arrangements and hotel are set.  Taking place May 1-5, 2016, in Hollywood, Florida, this year’s event will be held at the prestigious Diplomat Golf Resort & Spa.  This area offers some great things to do!

TRAVEL AND HOTELS 

Hollywood, Florida, is served directly by Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), 20 minutes from the host hotel.  In addition, Miami International Airport (MIA) is also a great option, only 30 miles away from the Diplomat…and it suits more international arrivals.

The Diplomat Resort & Spa is the event host hotel.  You can make your reservation by calling the hotel directly at (954) 602-6000.  To obtain the group room rate of $249 per night, please reference ARDA World. 

Hotel accommodations are also available at the Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach Hotel, located just a short two-block walk from the Diplomat Resort and Spa. To make your room reservations, please call (954) 454-4334 ext. 208 to obtain the group room rate of $209 per night.

Registration for ARDA World 2016 has been going fast, so make sure to book your spot now by visiting www.arda.org/convention for details.

WHILE YOU ARE IN TOWN 

Of course, we’d love for you to attend every ARDA event, but we can’t expect you not to enjoy the beautiful town of Hollywood, Florida as well.  Known for its beautiful stretch of sandy paradise nestled between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, Hollywood, FL has a little something for everyone.

Hollywood’s Beach features a one-of-a-kind oceanfront promenade called the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, which stretches nearly two and a half miles along the Atlantic. If the beach isn’t your place, historic downtown Hollywood offers shopping with quaint sidewalk cafés, brick-lined walks, and six blocks of unique boutiques, shops, art galleries, and dozens of excellent restaurants.

Get all the very latest at www.arda.org/convention, and see you soon in sunny south Florida! 

 

Freedom of Travel, U.S. Border Control Issues

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Freedom of Travel, U.S. Border Control Issue

by Kevin Riley, ARDA Federal Affairs 

   The Universal Appeal of Timeshare 

Every year, more than 20 million foreign visitors travel to the United States through the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows for citizens of 28 program-partner countries to visit for up to 90 days without having to obtain visas. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 40 percent of foreign visitors to the US come via the VWP each year. This is clearly an important program to our industry and the broader travel industry, and ARDA has fought hard to defend its integrity over the years while also supporting legislation that would strengthen national security requirements.

Bipartisan legislation introduced last year called the Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2015 would reform the VWP’s participation criteria to reinstate the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority to waive the visa refusal requirement if a country meets all other VWP requirements. The legislation would also enhance security measures, increase the number of participating countries, and allow Canadian citizens over 50 years old to remain in the US for up to 240 days a year. The JOLT Act estimates it would boost the US economy by $100 billion over the next decade and create 700,000 jobs.

However, this program has received increased Congressional scrutiny following the terrorist attacks in Paris. In a preemptive move, the White House announced changes to the VWP to immediately enact a number of security enhancements. Despite these changes, legislation was introduced called the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 to help DHS identify and stop terrorists with Western passports from entering the US. The bill incorporated many of the security parameters that ARDA advocated be included in the JOLT Act. The bill passed and was included in the end-of-year omnibus package.

While ARDA applauds Congress for passing such reform measures, we are still working to address components that would disrupt travel to the US and have a detrimental economic impact. To learn more about these efforts and more details on the legislation, read the full article