Fractional Life's first MENA shared ownership conference sets the stage for the region's growth
Inaugural Shared Ownership Fractional Summit Middle East attracts delegates from around the world and highlights the potential for shared ownership across the region
Leading luxury fractional ownership brand and fractional conference and exhibition organiser, Fractional Life http://www.fractionallife.com is delighted to announce the success of its recent Shared Ownership Fractional Summit Middle East, held at the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi on November 23 and 24.
Piers Brown of Fractional Life welcomes Sheikh Mubarakh Al Suwaiket to the conference
A group of 75 delegates from around the world gathered at the first Shared Ownership Fractional Summit Middle East http://www.fractionalsummituae.com to discuss the potential of shared ownership products in the MENA region.
The event encompassed real estate, yachts, timeshare and supercars; and was another triumph for organiser Fractional Life, which has now held successful conferences on three continents in the last nine months.
Conference attendees were told by Piers Brown, Fractional Life founder, that the Middle East is an exciting market for shared ownership, and that the success of the event provided a firm foundation for the sector's expansion in the region.
“We are delighted with the reaction to our first event in the Middle East, and the feedback we have had from delegates and sponsors alike confirms our belief that the conference and the shared ownership sector both have a bright future in the MENA region,” said Brown.
The B2B Shared Ownership Fractional Summit conference was devised to attract the brightest and most dynamic minds in the shared and fractional ownership industry to help define the ‘new rules’ and future opportunities within an ever changing market landscape.
Shared Ownership and Fractionals encompass:
fractional real estate
co-owned assets such as fractional jets, cars and yachts
co ownership of hotel rooms
private residence clubs
At the event, one of the UK's most successful entrepreneurs, Mike Balfour OBE, opened the conference, giving a history of his career founding and building up Fitness First – the world's largest chain of health clubs – before he became an advocate of the fractional ownership concept. Balfour is chairman and co-founder of The Hideaways Club, an international property investment fund which allows members to buy a share in – and use – a portfolio of luxury villas around the world. He is also a shareholder in Yachtplus, which sells fractions in striking superyachts designed by architect Lord Norman Foster.
Balfour described fractional ownership as a way for consumers “to get an awful lot more for an awful lot less” and said he had plans to launch further fractional projects as the concept can be successfully applied to “any asset which is not frequently used”.
Delegates were given a comprehensive introduction to the concept of fractional real estate during the Fractional 101 presentation by Philip Bacon of HVS, and Preben Vestdam of Valhalla Associates presented two case studies of projects in the region.
The conference really picked up on the optimism surrounding the potential of shared ownership, and the overriding mood was positive. Maurizio Bisicky of Marriott Vacation Club described the Middle East as a resilient region and a wealthy market, adding that Marriott Vacation Club has improved its profits by a bigger margin the the Middle East more than in any other region. He said it is a far less price sensitive market than Europe, and that two of the keys to success are the right quality product and high levels of customer care.
Other conference sessions looked at branding, region-appropriate search engine optimisation and legal structures.
Later in the day, Sheikh Mubarak Al Suwaiket told delegates of the benefits of fractional yacht ownership and the potential it has for growth in the the MENA region. “There are more than 2,000 berths under construction in the UAE,” he said, “and there are already more than 15 marinas. There are many promising trends which make this the right time to establish yacht ownership.”
Sheikh Mubarak – chairman of the Al Suwaiket Trading and Contracting Company – is one of the MENA region's most influential businessmen, and was ranked at number 16 in Arabian Business's Rich List. He is heavily involved in introducing the concept of fractional superyacht ownership to the Gulf, and is the partner and representative of International Yacht Collection Middle East and Trinity Yachts in the region.
Other topics of discussion included timeshare, which already has an established presence in the UAE. Claude Attala of consultants Northcourse Advisory Services revealed some research statistics which show that Dubai, Sharm El Sheikh, Makkah and Cairo are the four most popular destinations for MENA travellers.
The timeshare sector, which was represented by local brands such as Arabian Falcon Holidays and international players such as Marriott Vacation Club and RCI, has endured a tough couple of years, in common with many industries, but is on course for steady future growth, according to panellists.
Al Mohannad Sharafuddin of Arabian Falcon Holidays said that during tough economic times, people would not give up taking holidays even if they had to get rid of other investments such as stocks and shares.
Piers Brown wrapped up the conference by thanking the delegates, media partners and sponsors – RCI, The Registry Collection, Marriott Vacation Club, Creative Action Design, Citadel Trustees, Valhalla Associates, HVS Hospitality Services and écurie 25 – and looked forward to a bigger and better conference next year.
Notes To Editors
About Fractional Life
From a fractional jet to fractional real estate, Fractional Life http://www.fractionallife.com is the number one consumer lifestyle brand dedicated to growing the fractional ownership marketplace. The company has three divisions: interactive, fractional B2B conferences and B2C exhibitions.
Fractional Summit Europe http://www.fractionalsummit2011.eventbrite.com 17 - 18 February 2011, London Marriott, Grosvenor Square, London, United Kingdom.
Fractional Summit USA http://www.fractionalsummitusa.com 30 - 31 August 2011, InterContinental, Miami
Issued 26th November 2011