An historical overview of the establishment of timeshare recreation accommodation in South Africa (1978-1982)
Timeshare accommodation is a significant component of the tourism and recreational landscape. Despite its international rise in importance the timeshare sector has failed to attract the volume of detailed scholarly attention given to other forms of tourism accommodation. African research and historical studies are noticeably lacking. This study analyses the origins and establishment of timeshare recreation in South Africa and locates its appearance as part of the wider international expansion of the timeshare forms of recreational accommodation. It is shown that South Africa offers an interesting case in the evolution of timeshare recreation in the global South and demonstrated that the country early emerged as the leading focus for timeshare recreation in the developing world. The initial launch of timeshare developments in South Africa is viewed as a defensive response to declining accommodation occupancies, particularly in the country’s hotel sector, which suffered during the period of the late 1970s and early 1980s from international sanctions imposed on tourism under apartheid. The establishment and evolution of South Africa’s timeshare economy was based therefore upon the foundations of the white domestic leisure market of the apartheid period. The pioneer development of timeshare resorts concentrated geographically along the Natal coast and offered ‘sea, sun and sand’ recreational opportunities. This first group of resorts established during the period 1978 to 1982 proved highly successful and triggered an accelerated period of expansion of timeshare in South Africa over the following decade.
Keywords: Tourism accommodation, recreation, timeshare resorts, South Africa.