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Sorry, we’re closed

No visitors escaping here.

by Emmanuel Joseph

No fewer than four tourism-related facilities in Barbados, which were forced to close their doors during the past couple of years, are either looking to change hands or are in the process of doing so.

But these are only a few of a longer string of hospitality businesses that shut shop in recent times, partly due to the current economic recession as well as high operating costs.

Just yesterday when she reported to the Quarterly General Meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association at Hilton Barbados Resort, President Patricia Affonso-Dass told members that over the past year, the industry had seen continued closures in hotels and other tourism businesses; and that since 2008, the sector had been deprived of some 30 hotels, apartments and guest houses, resulting in a loss of about 1,300 rooms.

A team from Barbados TODAY visited some of those businesses this afternoon, including Ocean Park, Peach and Quiet, Alamanda, Silver Sands Hotel and Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.

Ocean Park, a once appealing tourism attraction in Christ Church, closed in 2009, mainly due to the high cost of doing business, compounded by an electricity bill that at times reached about $90,000 per month.

Since its closure, the 27 acres of prime property that offered patrons opportunities to view a variety of fish, including sharks, and enjoy mangroves, living reefs, a shoreline discovery pool, waterfall, sea lab, splash zone and a 10-hole mini-golf course, was up for sale.

It is understood that the owners, who were asking for $27 million had since dropped that to $10 million. While this newspaper was unable to confirm the exact asking price, it was clear to see that much of the site is now overrun by bush.

Another hotel, Peace and Quiet, located on the beach side of Inch Marlow, Christ Church, is also on the market for new ownership. Joint owner, Margaret Loveridge told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, they closed the intimate hotel because they were tired of running it, especially after 24 years.

Loveridge said they had had a number of investors who are interested in purchasing the property, but whoever wanted to buy it had until the end of this month to come up with the money.

The hotelier said she and her husband Adrian were currently refurbishing the facility and planned to re-open on December 1, with or without a new owner. She said the hotel was fully booked for the re-opening; but that if a new owner was not forthcoming by the deadline, Peach and Quiet would still open again, catering only to selected groups.

Escape at The Gap, which went out of business in November last year, is also still waiting for a buyer.

Alamanda Hotel, at Hastings, Christ Church, is currently being rebuilt for a grand re-opening next year as part of the Barbados Harlequin group.

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