ST. THOMAS, USVI: In July of this year I mentioned a bit of a dust-up that occurred during a town hall meeting at the India Association Cultural Center, jointly hosted by the V.I. Legislature and the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce. At issue was a law passed some years ago banning OPCs and barkers (you know, the guys and gals who go out into the street to pull people into their places of business), with Senators being asked to reinstate Off Property Canvassers as being separate from barkers, since they are necessary for the sales of timeshare and vacation clubs.
As it turns out, an Executive Resolution (supported by ARDA) was issued by former Governor Turnbull that allowed OPCs to work in the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie. But my understanding is that current Governor John de Jongh (now serving a second term as Governor) sort of revoked that by issuing another Executive Resolution stating that as of Aug 1, 2008, “Solicitor Licenses” for barkers in the downtown area would no longer be given out. This Order essentially decimated the timeshare industry on St. Thomas by lumping OPCs into that same category again. Word on the street is that ARDA, through their attorney in the USVI (George Dudley), is trying to fix this with yet ANOTHER Executive Order.
At any rate, for permanence, for reassurance to the business community, nothing spells success like having such an issue codified into law once and for all.
Well it seems that a local attorney, Russell Pate, and Senator Shawn Michael Malone have put their heads together and come up with a bill that would formally reinstate OPCs— with strict adherence to new regulations. It reportedly has the support of several other Senators as well. This would provide certainty for existing and future timeshare developments on the island that would be certainly helpful.
Those regulations, as currently drafted, would include provisions for identifying OPCs by requiring them to wear some type of uniform, a badge with the OPC’s name and the name of the company on it, a limit to the number of kiosks allowed, a ban on pursuing tourists through the streets, and so forth.
I don’t think Wyndham and Starwood are still selling there, but Marriott Vacation Club is probably surviving via in-house sales. However, smaller, non-branded developments could sure use the help such a law would provide. According to the buzz at the bars, for instance, Mike Shelby at Magens Point would love to start sales again as would the folks at SPM Resorts (Bluebeards Castle). (SPM just totally refurbished Bluebeards Castle, by the way). Without OPCs, they don’t stand a chance.
And who knows? With the tax advantages offered timeshare developers in the USVI and the certainty such a law would provide, maybe some of the major developers in the biz, such as Festiva and Bluegreen, could be enticed to put on their big boy business pants and do business there…
So far I haven’t heard if ARDA supports this bill; I certainly couldn’t find any reference to any current issues in the USVI on their website.
The bill is reportedly scheduled to be introduced next month. I’ll keep my ear to the ground and update you as things progress.
GOLDEN BAY: The lovely Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, just 20 kilometres from Malta International Airport, has achieved TATOC’s prestigious accreditation award, a programme aimed at giving full recognition to resorts that are truly customer-driven in their approach to timeshare ownership and are willing to commit to all requirements of the association’s code of conduct.
The 5-star hotel features a 90-metre outdoor lagoon pool, children’s pool and indoor heated swimming pool, along with direct access to the private fully serviced sandy beach. Guests can enjoy the state of the art leisure & spa facilities, exhilarating water sport activities including an on-site dive centre as well as a historically rich local area and award winning dining.
Located within the Resort is the Island Residence Club, affiliated to Interval International, as well as the Heavenly Collection, which comprises nine unique and lavishly furnished penthouses and is affiliated with RCI’s Registry Collection.
Do you have tips or rumors you'd like to share ANONYMOUSLY? Something you'd like us to investigate or follow up on? Help fill up the Tips Jar so we can share it with the whole Timeshare World! CONTACT: email@example.com