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New Hope for California Theme Parks and More Timeshare-Related News

Posted on February 11, 2021

With the declining rate of COVID cases in California, a pair of state lawmakers have drafted a bi-partisan bill designed to allow for the reopening of larger California theme parks. This is encouraging news for Disney timeshare owners who have been locked out of their Grand Californian timeshares since last Spring due to the effects of the pandemic.

After Governor Gavin Newsom recently pulled back the state-wide COVID restrictions, businesses and timeshare resorts in various counties began to gradually reopen. Attention has turned to the theme parks, as state legislators Sharon Quirk-Silva (D) and Suzette Martinez Valladares (R) have thrown their support behind Assembly Bill 420 – which would allow amusement parks to reopen in a given county regardless of the size of the park.

Current restrictions set reopening guidelines based on the size of the park, allowing the smaller parks to reopen quicker than their larger brethren. Because of the color-coded tier system used in California, smaller parks can open at the higher orange level, while larger parks such as Disneyland require a lower yellow level in order to reopen.

Reopening would still be tied to the level of COVID cases in a particular county, but the industry is advocating for an orange level reopening across the board. Orange County is currently in the purple category, but the bill would allow Disneyland to open sooner if COVID levels drop two tiers in the county rather than three tiers.    

Theme parks such as Disney World in Orlando have been operating for months at reduce capacities and industry officials have been pointing to their success as proof that larger California parks should be open. The reopening of Grand Californian timeshares hinge on Disneyland’s future, so any hope for a quicker opening is a positive sign for owners.

Canada Flight Suspensions to Impact Mexico and Caribbean Timeshare Resorts

Canada’s decision to enact a three month suspension of flights to Mexico and the Caribbean will have a huge impact for hospitality providers in those regions – and that includes timeshare resorts. Canada is the number two source of international visitors for Mexico and especially the Cancun region, second only to the United States.

Flights are due to halt until at least April 30, but Canadians currently in those countries are expected to be flown home according to airline officials.

The strangest part of this is that the Canadian government acknowledges only two percent of COVID cases in Canada come from international travel, so on the surface this seems to be an overreaction. This comes during the peak of the winter travel season when Canadians look to escape to warmer southern destinations.

Quarantines to Continue for Travel to Australia

Vacationers looking to check off that bucket list trip to Australia may have to wait a while longer – and quarantine even when international travel resumes. Holidaymakers looking to exchange their timeshare for a unit Down Under will need to first quarantine in a designated hotel for 14 days when arriving - even after receiving a vaccine.

Australian health officials are still not convinced that COVID vaccines stop the spread of the virus, saying that the current data is inconclusive. Therefore, officials plan to continue the 14-day quarantine requirement even if inbound travelers have been vaccinated.

COVID vaccines are due to be rolled out in Australia later this month, with a ramped up plan to vaccinate the majority of the nation’s 25 million people by the third quarter of 2021. Only when the country has reached herd immunity status from the vaccine rollout is the government expected to review the policy, but officials point to the successful management of the pandemic as the reason to continue with the quarantine policy.

Australia has seen a total of 28,879 COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic, resulting in 909 deaths to date.     

More Vacation Time Planned by Americans

U.S. timeshare resorts can take heart from a new Expedia survey, revealing that many Americans plan to take an extra week of vacation time this year.

Americans have traditionally been reluctant to take all of their annual vacation time, but the pandemic seems to have changed attitudes toward taking time off for travel.

The survey showed that Americans plan to take an average of 13 days of vacation time this year, up from 8 days in 2020. Of those surveyed, 36 percent plan to take their regular annual vacation, while another 32 percent said they would take more vacation days to make up for last year.

An encouraging sign for the Riviera Maya and Cancun destinations in Mexico - they were the top two most searched destinations on Expedia for March and April getaways. Even better news for timeshare resorts was that Las Vegas and Orlando were next on the popularity list followed by Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.

Author

Author Pic
Steve Luba
Chief Communications Officer
Steve manages the public relations, social media and content creation efforts of the company. Previously the Chief Operating Officer for Perspective International, Steve provided oversight and contributed articles for the five regional vacation ownership trade magazines under the Perspective Magazine banner. With 34 years’ experience in various roles in radio and television, sales and marketing, public relations, media and government liaison initiatives, he brings a well-rounded outlook to our industry.