InsightHilton's plan for a multiyear expansion and refurbishment of its Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa in Waikiki, announced March 31, calls for the construction of two new timeshare towers, which would add about 500 vacation ownership units to the property. 

According to Jerry Gibson, area vice president and managing director for Hilton Hawaii, timeshares have proven to be steady performers and are "very important to the overall health of the visitor industry in Hawaii."

"Studies have shown that vacation ownership units are less susceptible to the dips and valleys of the economy, making [them] a solid investment in the future of Waikiki, ensuring employment and generating tax revenue for the community," Gibson wrote in an email to Travel Weekly. "Occupancy of timeshare units is almost 100%, and those guests have a vested interest in maintaining a sustainable community through their vacation property ownership."

Gibson said Hilton has enjoyed a great deal of success with its timeshare business in the Islands, and its most recent timeshare endeavor, at the 22-acre Hawaiian Village Beach Resort, has outperformed expectations.

"Our Hawaii timeshare properties are doing extremely well," Gibson said. "The Grand Waikikian, which opened in December 2008, is ahead of pace with nearly 50% of the units sold, [and] our timeshares are being used not only by owners but by transient guests as rental units."

Actual work on the renovation and expansion plan at the Hawaiian Village is still quite a ways off. Gibson said Hilton has just begun what it anticipates will be an 18-to-24-month environmental impact study and city and county permitting process.

Gibson didn't disclose an estimate for the total cost of the project.

"We are in the very early stages of the entitlement and design process and expect details of the master plan could change as we work with the community and relevant government entities to finalize all plans," he said. "We can say, though, that this latest master plan will be a considerable investment in the future of Waikiki and Hawaii's tourism industry."

In addition to the two new towers, which would nearly double the property's timeshare accommodations, the plan consists of expanding retail and restaurant space as well as improving the property's guest arrival experience. Additional children's and adult pools are also in the works, along with more parking and "numerous upgraded amenities."

The proposed development will involve hundreds of temporary construction jobs, and once complete, the expansion is expected to require the addition of nearly 700 permanent jobs at the property, Gibson said.

Currently the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa is home to 3,627 guestrooms, suites and timeshare units.

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