Refugees, Maintenance Payments and Members Complaints

Over the past months, we have all been having to cope with various restrictions, from lockdowns, working from home or just plain out of work. The tourist industry in the Canary Islands is suffering exponentially, bars restaurants are closing down permanently and many people have lost their livelihoods. Almost all the hotels are closed and the ones that are open are limited in capacity, this has resulted in many workers being laid off, from the kitchen staff, bar staff, waiters, reception and the cleaners, not knowing when and if they are ever likely to get their jobs back. In all this we have timeshare owners who have paid this year’s maintenance yet have not been able to travel, this is causing some anger among owners/members.

This article has been published because of many comments on social media from timeshare owners/members complaining about refugees arriving in Gran Canaria and being placed in hotels and timeshare resorts.

Puerto Calma, a timeshare resort which is part of Holiday Club and located in Puerto Rico is one of those resorts that the Red Cross has taken over for the housing of refugees. These people have been brought ashore by the Spanish Maritime Rescue Service and received at the small fishing port of Arguineguin.

Tents have been set up on the dockside where all the refugees are processed and tested for Covid, the conditions are what can only be described as very very basic indeed. Once those tested have been given the all-clear they are then removed to one of the hotels where they are assisted by the Red Cross workers and other NGOs.

The Dockside at the port of Arguineguin

But the tone of many owners/members has been one of complete indignation that “their” resort is being used for this purpose. The complaint is we have paid the maintenance but are unable to use it, yet these people get the run of the place.

Inside Timeshare agrees that resorts need to ensure that members who have paid maintenance fees and have been unable to use them are compensated and that it should be fair without any conditions.

We say without conditions as we have seen with Anfi that is not the case, in order to save the week paid for and receive a voucher for future use, members are being told they must first sign the new contracts. This is extortion and if you don’t sign you lose the week.

Port of Arguineguin, Red Cross tents and portaloos.

On the other hand, Calvin Lucock the CEO at Puerto Calma did explain to members about the use of the resort for the refugees. He also explained that this has helped to keep staff employed who would otherwise be out of work. See the PDF of his post below from 16 September.

He has also stated that as the Red Cross, EU and the Spanish Government are funding the refugees stay at Puerto Calma, he states will give the club a surplus next year which will result in a reduction of next year’s maintenance fees.

Yet the mood on the Puerto Calma Fb page is one of hostility towards management and the refugees, many of the comments are, to be honest, downright disgusting. They show a lack of humanity and harp on about “their apartments”, “we own them, who gave them the right to use it”.

Inside Timeshare, although sympathises with timeshare owners having to pay maintenance for weeks they are unable to use, I have nothing but respect for Calvin and contempt for those members who have not shown an ounce of humanity, but personal greed.

This is a crisis which involves real people, the Canary Islands do not have the resources to cope with this huge influx, but thanks to many hotels and resorts here, these people have at least a decent place to stay until arrangements have been made to process them and move them on.

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