Tourism is Florida’s most important industry. Theme parks, hotels, car rentals and restaurants depend on it to keep afloat.
But the coronavirus pandemic continues, so too does the gloomy outlook for Florida’s signature industry.
A recent study by Destinations Florida, an association representing local tourism bureaus throughout the state, showed the depths of it — in April, tourism revenue was down 82% and hotel occupancy had fallen 71% year-over-year.
Still, there are some signs of recovery. One source of hope: Timeshares.
Despite a spate of negative headlines on case numbers and death records, there is still demand for accommodations that provide for social distancing and show a commitment to extraordinary cleaning and safety measures.
Timeshares check both boxes.
In the early phases of the economic recovery, the American Resort Development Association took charge and produced the “Timeshare Safe Welcome” guide to help facilities live up to stringent health and safety standards so families can travel with peace of mind.
The guide is key as travelers are increasingly opting to drive to their vacation destination over flying. In the timeshare industry, that means tourists who own timeshares overseas are swapping them out for something stateside. As Florida is the timeshare capital of the nation, many of those travelers will end up spending their vacation weeks in the Sunshine State.
That, of course, bodes well for the timeshare business. The more tourists who end up flocking to Florida, the more employees — from housekeepers to property managers — can return to work.
It also helps the economy as a whole. During these uncertain times, timeshares are doing their part to help in recovery by stepping up and offering unprecedented flexibility to their customers.
Many timeshare providers are offering generous cancellation policies. One developer has gone above and beyond, allowing travelers to cancel bookings any time prior to check-in for reservations made through Dec. 31, 2020. Others have waived all fees or fine print that would have docked points for late cancellations.
Such policies are not only pro-consumer, they are also pro-Florida. By offering such flexibility, timeshare companies are ensuring those tourists will arrive eventually, even if they don’t arrive immediately.
When they do arrive, Florida’s economy will be ready roll out the welcome mat.