Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie told attendees at the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association Annual Christmas Luncheon, December 2, that Exim Bank of China has provided additional funding to complete the Baha Mar Project and construction work is well underway.
“You may have heard by now the announcement regarding the acquisition of the Baha Mar properties by a Hong Kong-based company – a world-class hotel, real-estate developer and business conglomerate,” Prime Minister Christie said at the event held at Atlantis Paradise Island.
“They are arranging for operation by the Grand Hyatt of the Casino and Convention hotels and of the other properties by SLS and Rosewood, all internationally renowned brands, beginning with a phased opening in the second quarter of 2017.”
These operations will almost immediately begin to have a positive economic impact, he added.
“My government has been working to ensure that there will be continuous employment opportunities in the tourism sector for our young people over the ensuing years, starting with the imminent hiring of 1,500 employees at Baha Mar early in the New Year,” Prime Minister Christie said.
“This is to facilitate the phased opening of 1800 rooms at the conference and casino hotel, the casino, convention centre and golf course, and employment of up to 3,300 by August 2017 and 4,300 by December 2017, when all components have been completed and opened.”
Prime Minister Christie announced that the company, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited, is planning to invest an additional hundreds of millions of dollars in pre-opening festivities, the development of family amenities, entertainment and offshore island facilities and consideration for the demolition or redevelopment of the former Crystal Palace Hotel.
“With these additional investments completed, the project will have created 5,700 new direct jobs and an additional 4,160 indirect and induced jobs,” he said.
“The general contractor currently has over 500 workers on site with oversight of standards and the construction timetable for completion,” Prime Minister Christie added. “This will ensure on-time completion of those properties that are slated to open in April 2017 and by December 2017.”
“My Government was also able to secure an arrangement with the China Export Import Bank where the Bank made payments to unsecured creditors of Baha Mar, ex gratia, including terminated Baha Mar employees and subcontractors,” Prime Minister Christie noted.
The Bank, he added, also paid amounts owing by Baha Mar to the general contractor who, in turn, is compensating and re-hiring its sub-contractors.
“The completion and opening of the Baha Mar mega resort will be complemented by the opening of the 250-room, all-inclusive Warwick Hotel on Paradise Island and the phased construction at The Pointe of a 100-unit condominium complex slated for completion September 2018 and a branded, 150-room hotel which will open November 2018,” Prime Minister Christie stated.
The 900-space garage at The Pointe is also undergoing a phased opening with current access given to annual pass holders and tenants and public access to the garage following shortly thereafter, he noted.
“These are all developments which are expected to have immediate and significant impact on commercial activity, employment and government revenues in New Providence and indirect impacts on the rest of the country”.
Prime Minister Christie told those in attendance that the opening of the five-star Hilton Hotel at Resorts World’s resort in Bimini is a “wonderful addition to that Island’s tourism product”.
“Direct employment has peaked at over 700. Plans are being finalized for further upgrades to the Bimini airport, increased airlift and cruise service as well as more facilities and amenities,” he said.
Christie noted that as one moves through our chain of Islands, a combination of new resort facilities and upgrades including the Berry Islands, New Providence, Paradise Island, Eleuthera and the Exumas “bode well” for the coming year and beyond.
“Although competition in the region and abroad will also stiffen, The Bahamas must resolve to be the world-class leader in service and productivity, making the kind of innovations which will compel investors and visitors alike to make The Bahamas their destination of choice,” the Prime Minister said.