Further to our article on the 2nd December in relation to Westgate’s Smoky Mountain Resorts fire damage, we can now report that fifty of their timeshare units have now re-opened. There are another 200 due to open this weekend all going well. Mark Waltrip, chief operating officer of Orlando-based Westgate is happy with the quick turnaround, he says ‘We just want to make sure all our owners are taken care of’.
The majority of the resort was completely destroyed in the fire, and Westgate is endeavouring to build it back up as soon as they can. There were 352 of the units that were unaffected, these are the ones that are being opened after a deep clean to remove any trace of smoke. The carpets and the blinds are all being cleaned.
The other 652 units that were destroyed in the fire are to be reconstructed over the next eighteen months to two years. The plans were put in place for this reconstruction a mere 2 days after the blaze fizzled out. David Siegal, the chief executive officer said
“Spirits are very high and everyone is pitching in to make sure we reopen the resort as quickly as possible and get everyone back to work again.”
There were approximately 20 staff members that were relocated from their houses due to the fire damaging theirs, and the local community started an ‘Adopt a family scheme’ to help such families that lost their homes in the fire. The re-opening of part of the resort last Wednesday saw the staff members that were first to assist in the fires, honoured for their help.
Westgate have also declared that during the reconstruction of the resort, the timeshare owners whom are not able to use their unit in Smoky Mountain can make use of Westgate’s other 23 resorts. The 38000 owners will not be getting charged any transfer fees or any other expenses to book at another resort that is not their own. The units that are available at the Gatlinburg resort are only to be used by owners at the resort itself. Any advanced reservations made by clients that are not owners have been stopped, and the reservations that the resort already had are being honoured at other Westgate resorts if the guests can get to them.
There has been a whopping $250,000 raised already by the Westgate foundation to go towards the speedy rebuild of the resort, so management are positive at the progress that has taken place already. Mark Waltrip has stated that in the grand scale of events they have been very lucky and it is looking like there will be 350 of the units opened back up by March 2017.
Posted on: December 15, 2016
For more information regarding this article or assistance in any other timeshare related issues please contact the TCA on 0203 519 3808 or email: info@TimeshareConsumerAssociation.org.uk