Hello Ramy. Could you tell us what GATE is and how you got started in it?
The Global Alliance for Timeshare Excellence (GATE) was established in 1999 by leaders of timeshare associations in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South Africa to promote the timeshare industry around the world. Each association retains its own identity, but collectively, the associations seek to cooperate on issues of common concern in order to advance the growth of the timeshare industry worldwide, the interests of their members and the consumers they serve.
As the current President and Director of the Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership
Council (ATHOC), I was the representative on the GATE board from ATHOC. I was elected Chairman of GATE some four years ago and proudly continue in this role.
What is the biggest misconception about timeshare out there?
It is "too good to be true", I believe is the biggest misconception. The value proposition is solid and all members that I have spoken to that use it have had great value. The largest barrier to overcome is the lack of trust.
Do you find that the general, non-timeshare owning public in the United States has a different view of timeshare than the non-timeshare owning public in other places?
There is a larger "brand" presence in the US (Disney, Marriott, etc.) than anywhere else in the world and therefore I believe this brings about an improved acceptance of timeshare than anywhere else to the general public.
Who are the members of GATE and how do they become members?
GATE members are established timeshare industry associations around the world. Associations are invited by the founding committee. The following link provides information on GATE: http://www.arda.org/who-we-are/internationalconnections/gate/overview.aspx
For a current timeshare owner, what would you like them to know about GATE and the work that you are doing?
GATE is an industry body that is working globally on improving perception and setting a common level of ethics and conduct in the industry to increase consumer trust. From a consumer's point of view, they can be assured that the industry globally is working towards self-regulation and ensuring that consumers are protected wherever they purchase. Whilst there are regulations in most parts of the world that deal specifically within a jurisdiction, GATE is a forum to share best practices and protect the industry from unscrupulous operators.
Any new, exciting projects you are working on this year?
GATE, in association with ARDA, is working on the first ARDA Global Conference April 1-5 in Las Vegas. We want to support ARDA's conference to be more global and attract delegates and speakers from all over the world.
Can/should consumers get involved in GATE?
Not directly, however each association around the world always welcomes consumer feedback and support. I suggest that is where consumers can support the industry and help guide its future.
Thanks Ramy for the interview and the education!