If you're marketing a timeshare project, you might want to start your effort in California. Residents of the Golden State represent by far the largest number of timeshare owners in the nation. According to new data compiled by the American Resort Development Association, 419,766 California residents own a vacation ownership unit, dwarfing runner-up states New York (with 184,955 owners) and Florida (176,907 owners). ARDA compiled the data based on memberships in exchange companies RCI and Interval International.

Timeshare is big business in California, creating a $3-billion impact on the state's economy in 2002, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The impact includes 31,100 full- and part-time jobs, $1.1 billion in salaries and wages and $418 million in tax revenues in 2002.

The PwC study also shows the state has 125 timeshare resorts (second only to Florida) with 11,900 individual units (third behind Florida and South Carolina).

Although not as significant as California, timeshare is also big business in Arizona, where the vacation ownership industry produces a $1-billion economic impact annually, says PwC. The state has 46 timeshare resorts with 4,640 units. More than 84,000 residents of the state own timeshare.

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