Time to bring the China boom to the Far North
ONE of the world's leading timeshare operators will use its 500 hotels and resorts in China to help draw Chinese tourists to the Far North.
Franz Hanning, the US-based president and chief executive of Wyndham Vacation Ownership said the corporation, which owned and ran 7000 timeshare properties and hotels worldwide, would encourage its Chinese timeshare owners to visit the region and stay at its Port Douglas property.
Wyndham bought the Treetops Resort last year and rebranded it as a Ramada.
Wyndham Hotel Group South Pacific chief executive and managing director Barry Robinson said the company had spent $20 million buying the resort and was converting 200 rooms into 90 one and two-bedroom apartments.
He said it would become a dual-use property with 30 per cent for hotel guests and the remaining 70 per cent for timeshare owners.
Mr Robinson said, while most of the guests were from Australia and New Zealand, there was promising potential for Chinese guests with the direct flights by China Eastern and China Southern airlines to Cairns starting next month.
Mr Robinson said low-cost carriers were making it cheaper for people to travel, particularly from Asia.
"Our Asian owners will want to come to see the Great Barrier Reef," he said.
Mr Hanning said the timeshare industry had occupancy rates much higher than hotels.
"People prepay their vacation, they have already invested the money, they tend to show up and tend to spend more money shopping, dining, entertaining and playing golf," he said.
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Land of opportunity: Timeshare company bosses Franz Hanning and Barry Robinson in Cairns.