The timeshare industry first originated in Europe in the 1960s. In France and Switzerland, two different companies started the first vacation ownership deals for travelers and tourists. During 1964-1968, a French development company called ‘Société des Grands Travaux de Marseille’ began offering timeshare products by offering a resort called Devoluy. Another resort called Paul Doumier from the Société des Grands Travaux became popular with its first advertising slogan: “No need to rent the room; buy the hotel, it’s cheaper!” The Swiss-based timeshare company, called ‘Hapimag’, was founded on September 23, 1963 and later expanded to Italy and Spain. Hapimag remains a successful company today and has remained at the forefront of the timeshare market.
In the US, Vacation Internationale offered the first timeshare resort called ‘Kauai Kailani’ in 1969. This timeshare company introduced the “points” system to offer more vacation flexibility to timeshare owners. Once timeshare owners earn points, they can use them at any of the resorts offered by the company as currency. Florida was the first state in the United States to adopt timeshare developments during the 1970s.
The renowned exchange company Resort Condominiums International (RCI) was founded in 1974 in Indianapolis with branches in a growing number of countries. It offers timeshare owners the opportunity to exchange vacation weeks between the company’s different resorts, offering more flexibility and a wider variety of vacation options than before.
The timeshare industry continued to develop during the 1980s by establishing different timeshare companies in Western Europe and Asia. In the 1990s a large number of new resorts were opened around the world. Major hotel companies such as Sheraton, Ramada, Hilton, Disney, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Radisson, and Westin also began offering timeshare properties during this decade. Legal organizations such as the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) in the US and the Organization for Timeshare (OTE) in Europe regulate the timeshare industry.