‘Positive’ tourism signs
New investing into industry, says former BHTA head
It is not all doom and gloom for the island’s struggling tourism product. In fact, immediate past president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), Patricia Affonso-Dass, says there have been some positive signs, with a number of ongoing and pending investments in the industry.
Delivering her final report as president of the association yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Affonso-Dass said given Sandals’ interest in purchasing the Almond Beach Village property, Government could now direct the funds for that property elsewhere.
“It is encouraging to note that, along the way, Sandals’ interest in Barbados has shifted from a position in which the Government would have purchased the Almond Beach Village property and paid for its renovation to the tune of $250 million, to one in which Sandals has decided to purchase the property and make
the investment,” she said.
“This has meant that the loan that was secured by Government can now be directed elsewhere for additional development.
“Work at Sandals Casuarina, with massive changes and additions to the rooms, facilities and general infrastructure, has already begun and the property is scheduled to open at the end of January 2015. Based on all that I have seen, it will be an amazing property and a wonderful addition to our accommodation plant,” added Affonso-Dass.
She said that “encouraging to note” was that Amaryllis had been purchased by Gordon Seale and there was intent to renovate and upgrade that property.
“Sandy Beach has been purchased and is being converted into a new condo hotel property; a brand new development is planned for Settlers Beach as part of the group that includes Sandpiper and Coral Reef Club; and we understand from information in the Press that the Four Seasons property is close to being sold,” Affonso-Dass added.
“All of these developments to me signal a shift in a positive direction, and I am confident that once the island can show a strong, progressive climate for attracting tourism investment that is backed by facilitative agencies that truly understand the industry and its need for speed and dynamism, that we will see growth, development and progress that can only be positive for the island’s economy, our partners in manufacturing and agriculture, and employment.”