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Timeshare specialist aims to tap in to development opportunities

Dubai, May 2005 — Interval International, a leading global timeshare exchange company, is opening an office in Dubai, seeking to capitalise on expected growth of vacation ownership resorts in the region. The office will be based in Dubai Airport Free Zone, which is ideally located close to the principal business districts of Dubai.

The company, which launched in 1976 and has a global network of more than 2,000 resorts in 76 countries, already operates a sales and membership office in Egypt. The new sales office will be dedicated to working with developers and expanding the number of Middle East resorts and destinations available to members. Currently, Interval has affiliated resorts in Egypt and Lebanon, and recently signed a deal with The Royal Club at The Palm, Dubai.

According to David R. Clifton, managing director, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia for Interval International, the region is just developing as a timeshare market, and he predicted a surge of interest on behalf of both resort developers and the consumer.

"The consumer holiday profile in the region is focused on family travel and loyalty to key destinations; hence, vacation ownership is a perfect match, offering guaranteed accommodation at the selected resort plus opportunities to exchange and travel the world," he said.

"However, as far as the growth of vacation ownership resorts in the Middle East region, we are in the very early stages but the region is already our fastest-growing area. Dubai is one of the most dynamic tourist destinations around the globe, and its neighbours are emulating its development."

Clifton pointed out that vacation ownership resorts would add a new element to the tourism mix in the region, offering the prospect of developing long-term loyalty and longer average length of stay among visitors as well as an opportunity for Interval International members to experience the Arabian Gulf and wider Middle East.

"Interval has been working with the government and industry professionals in creating a sound regulatory platform that provides consumer protection and allows businesses the ability to grow..

"Globally, timeshare is booming, recording double-digit annual growth during the past 20 years, helped by effective legislation as well as the entry in to the sector of named hotel brands," said Clifton.

"The perception of the timeshare industry is improving rapidly and consumer owners at resorts developed by leading hospitality brands, as well as independents, have judged the product for themselves and act as a 'secret sales force' spreading the word that timeshare is a significant holiday alternative," said Clifton.

"The figures speak for themselves - over 7 million people worldwide own timeshare at close to 6,000 resorts in 95 countries, and industry sales volumes now exceed US$10 billion annually."

He said that although the timeshare industry in the Middle East was in its infancy, it had phenomenal potential, particularly through development of such mega projects as The Palm in Dubai, Dubailand, and The Pearl-Qatar.

"With all the major luxury hotel brands expanding their presence in the region, there will be tremendous choice and fierce competition to win customer loyalty - and this is an excellent way to offer a vacation ownership option that means offers loyal high-spending consumers will return again and again."

Especially relevant to this area, Interval International offers a luxury hotel room membership club that allows high-quality hotels to pre-sell up to 25 years' worth of empty room inventory to consumers under The Interval Collection, a unique point-based programme aimed at the upper segment of the hospitality market that will also see the evolvement of an urban timeshare product complementary to traditional vacation ownership.

Notes to editor:
Since 1976, Interval International has led the vacation ownership industry with its hallmarks of quality and innovation. Interval has a global network of more than 2,000 resorts in 76 countries, and serves its developer clients and nearly 1.7 million members - worldwide timeshare vacation owners - through 27 offices in 18 countries. Interval provides a variety of exchange services and year-round travel related benefits to enhance membership vacation experiences. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Interval International is part of IAC, which operates leading and diversified businesses in sector being transformed by the Internet, online and offline. Other IAC companies include Ticketmaster, HSN, Lending Tree, Citysearch and Entertainment Publications.

For more information contact:
Kirstie Hepburn / Emma Rymer
Strategic Solutions for Interval;
tel +971 4 3903030;

Adrian Bascombe, Interval International
Phone: +44 (0) 20 8336 9573;

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Interval International, 6262 Sunset Drive, Miami, FL 33143