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Sandals will see a return on its $80 million investment in Emerald Bay by 2014, the resort's CEO has said, as the company seeks to capitalize on the location's natural assets.
Adam Stewart told Guardian Business that the Exuma property is now one of the most beautiful and desirable vacation spots in the world - and it's a matter of time before the public recognizes that.
Up until this moment, he said Emerald Bay "has not made a single dollar yet".
"Do I think 2012 will be the year we break the back of it? Yes I do," he added. "We will have a fairly good winter and our reputation in the marketplace is getting better. With a little luck, the world economy will start to behave. 2013 and 2014 show that it was a good buy and it will contribute to the bottom line."
The resort, acquired by Sandals in August 2009 from the Four Seasons, has undergone a near total transformation in recent years. Sandals has pumped tens of millions into the development and marketing of the remote resort, spanning 500 acres with a one-mile stretch of beach.
It boasts five restaurants, five bars, two pools, 150 slips, 183 accommodations and an 18-hole golf course. The company added 66 rooms this year after picking up a residential building adjacent to the resort to pull off the expansion.
More than 100 permanent employees have been added to the roster.
Stewart said the company wouldn't have made the investment "if we didn't think the future was bright for Exuma". He told Guardian Business that the mystique and natural beauty of the landscape will appeal to tourists seeking a luxurious experience off the beaten track.
"When you land, you feel as if you're in the middle of nowhere," he said.
However, the key will be balancing the appeal of a remote location with appropriate airlift and adequate marketing. Acknowledging that airlift is "not easy", Stewart said the government has been very supportive so far. Sandals has taken considerable risks by putting money forward to guarantee capacity for the airlines coming into Exuma so they don't succumb to losses.
It's a precarious business model for the resort chain, but one Stewart believes will pay off.
Marketing is the other essential ingredient to success, he pointed out.
"We have to be behind the gateway, making sure the demand is high enough so the airplane seats are full. This is not an easy task," he told Guardian Business. "You get the services, you put your reputation on the line and then you market the heck out of it. The facility is gorgeous and the hotel has what it needs to be the best in the Caribbean."
This month, the popular U.S. game show Wheel of Fortune was invited to film a series of shows at Emerald Bay. Stewart said this promotion, and many others like it, have reached a quarter of a billion people, serving as invaluable exposure and marketing for the property.
Given the higher price tag of Emerald Bay, part of the strategy of the resort will be to "push weddings hard", the CEO said. Sandals recently unveiled its new wedding program whereby clients can more fully customize their experience.
The program is in collaboration with Martha Stewart, the celebrity lifestyle guru.
With tens of millions on the line, Stewart said the company is absolutely focused on ensuring the high-priced acquisition is a success.
Chairman of the COB Council Alfred Sears should generally be applauded for insisting that the next president of the college should be a Bahamian.
Still, this columnist believes that the search should be open to other Caribbean nationals. By example, what if we are able to find a Caribbean national of the caliber of Sir Hilary Beckles, professor of history and pro-vice-chancellor and principal at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies?
The devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, which devastated Haiti in early January 2010, also sent emotional aftershocks throughout the region as the Caribbean mourned yet another setback for the country.
Following the earthquake, Sir Hilary penned a brief essay entitled "The Hate and the Quake". Such essays rarely go viral. His did because he captured the cries of many for Haiti, chronicling a colonial legacy which put Haiti's history into greater context.
Sir Hilary provided the quality of intellectual and ethical reflection that is at the heart of the role of the head of a college or university. As a native Barbadian and historian of the region, he also provided a Caribbean voice.
The next president of The College of The Bahamas should speak with a Caribbean voice accented by a global worldview. The recent non-Caribbean heads of the college are to be applauded for their contributions to the country.
But as COB moves towards university status and 40 years after independence, the need for a more indigenous voice is essential in light of the role that COB and its president play in national development.
CaribbeanThat voice includes a Caribbean idiom better able to inspire, and to reflect our history and development goals. Such a voice can highlight our successes while being brutally honest about our shortcomings.
The president of COB should be one of the leading intellectual voices in the country, able to speak to a myriad of issues with reason and deliberation, including the ability to speak to issues of public policy in a nonpartisan manner.
The president must speak to the challenges and aspirations of a small developing state, and of the role of education in national development.
The audiences and constituencies of the president include the nation-at-large, but more particularly stakeholders within the college, and potential donors.
The president's voice must be strong enough to insist on institutional autonomy, and strong enough to stand up to political leaders when necessary, with finesse and intelligence.
Within the institution, the president must be able to inspire students, faculty and staff. Further, the president will need the political wiles and determination to pursue the broader good of the institution amidst some of the outsized egos, rivalries and fiefdoms at the college.
The "Profile of the President" issued for the presidential search details a number of qualities a candidate should possess generally, and in terms of leadership and professional experience.
The profile notes that no one candidate is likely to possess all of the qualities desired. Yet what are some of the essential qualities a new president should possess?
He or she should be an individual of demonstrated intellectual ability, namely the capacity for discernment and critical thinking. Notably, academic achievement and intellectual capacity are not necessarily synonymous. There are many academics fluent in their field, yet lack the capacity for critical thinking and informed commentary.
The new president should be able to read and to understand a considerable amount of information, and a capacity to learn quickly. He or she should also be an articulate public speaker and a superior writer.
Other essential qualities include the capacity to raise money and to cultivate donors, as well as general public relations skills. Equally important is the need for demonstrated administrative and managerial skills, including an understanding of finances and budgets.
Given these qualities, who are some Bahamians who possess the leadership and professional experience to lead COB?
The search profile noted that candidates "will preferably possess an earned doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher learning; and will preferably have at least seven years of senior leadership/administrative experience in progressively more responsible positions, with a strong record of achievement, preferably in an institution of higher education."
The word preferably suggests that the COB Council is open to a candidate who may not possess a doctorate or may not have spent considerable time in an academic setting, but who has extensive professional and leadership experience.
All of which leaves the door open to a more diverse pool of talent. There are a number of international tertiary institutions led by individuals who, though they do not possess a doctorate, proved extremely capable in a given field, making them ideal candidates to lead an institution of higher learning.
It is not that we are without potential candidates to lead COB. The question is whether certain potential candidates would consider leading the institution for a designated period while helping to identify and prepare possible successors.
It is a testament to her extensive experience and knowledge that Dr. Paulette Bethel is currently chef de cabinet for the president of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Bethel has a Ph.D. in sociology. She served as an educator, negotiator and diplomat, with time spent in the private sector. She has taught at COB and served for a brief period as chairperson of the Social Sciences Department.
Bethel has extensive international experience having served The Bahamas as a diplomat at both the UN and in Washington D.C. She served as the country's UN ambassador under both the PLP and the FNM.
Sean McWeeney, Q.C., possesses one of the finest intellects in the country. Well-read, he is highly articulate as a speaker and as a writer, someone who possesses the ability to improve the quality of public discourse in the country.
One of the leading trust attorneys in the country, he served as attorney general and in a number of other capacities including, presently, as chairman of the Constitutional Commission.
He served as advisor, speechwriter and counselor to Prime Ministers Sir Lynden Pindling and Perry Christie. The urbane McWeeney might be a good choice to help COB to raise significant funds.
Teresa Butler, who earned a master's degree in international economics from Georgetown University, is one of the most capable public servants of her generation, having also taught in the government-operated school system.
Following a distinguished career in the public service, including as a diplomat, she rose to the level of permanent secretary.
She has an extraordinary understanding of the public service and is one of the country's leading experts in public policy. An avid environmentalist, Butler has an extensive record of involvement in community service.
Therese Turner Jones is currently the Inter-American Development Bank's country representative in Jamaica. She has a master's degree in economics and served at the IMF and at the Central Bank of The Bahamas.
With extraordinary international experience, she also "has over 20 years of experience in the areas of macroeconomics and economic development, with particular emphasis in the Caribbean".
Dr. Reginald Eldon has a doctorate in theology and extensive administrative and leadership experience in various capacities with the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church. He is also a gifted writer and public speaker.
He has extensive experience as an educator and in youth development, including having taught college level courses overseas. He is presently dean of the Centre for Leadership, Education and Training (CLET).
There are other Bahamians at home and abroad who may prove to be a novel choice as the next head of COB, including a number of medical doctors, international bankers or attorneys who meet the essential qualifications necessary to serve.
To attract the best talent possible we should be willing to handsomely remunerate the next president of COB, paying them a very good salary along with generous benefits. This is standard fare at many institutions of higher learning seeking to attract outstanding leaders.
We are often quite happy to pay foreign consultants all manner of handsome sums. The president of COB is a central figure in the life of the nation. He or he should be financially secure in order to lead one of our important national institutions.
o email@example.com, www.bahamapundit.com.
Saturday 28th April 2012 9:00 AM
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While mega developments like Atlantis and Baha Mar are increasingly grabbing headlines around the world, Best Western executive Tom Osborn seems assured that smaller properties like the Best Western Bay View Suites on Paradise Island will continue to thrive.
Osborn was addressing media questions at the Caribbean Travel Marketplace (CTM) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, last week.
Questioned by Guardian Business about whether Baha Mar - scheduled to open on March 27 - will pull clientele from Paradise Island, Osborn said that might be the case with Atlantis, but not with his resort.
"Our property is a smaller resort-type property that sits on the bay and it's more for that guest that doesn't want that Atlantis-type experience," he said.
"They don't need four thousand people around them. They'd like to have a swimming pool and space to themselves and the tranquility of the Caribbean (Sea) instead of the fast pace that you get at the Atlantis."
Osborn also unveiled the Best Western Premier Collection, which presently has one member hotel in Sweden.
"Premier Collection was just introduced. It's mainly for upscale independent hotels. It allows them to keep their independence but tap into our reservation system and our rewards programs," he said.
Osborn explained that Premier Collection is a "pay for performance" model.
"Where our competitors charge a fee based on the revenue of the hotel, the Premier Collection is simple: You only pay for what we send to the hotel, (a small) percentage of a reservation, and our global system last year did well over $4 billion in revenue worldwide," he said.
The ideal partners are hotels with a AAA rating of three-star or higher, a four-star TripAdvisor rating and full service hotels Osborn said are "tired of the total dependency on OTAs (online travel agencies) and the fees charged by the OTAs."
Nassau, Bahamas - Just two months after launching the new
corporate Bahamahost program, the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation began the
course for its own staff members.
For the next seven weeks, 22 employees of the
ministry will receive instruction in best customer service practices, Bahamian
culture and history. It is all
part of ensuring that the Bahamas delivers the kind of visitor experience that
allows the country to put out best performances in the most competitive tourism
environment in history, said Minister of Tourism & Aviation Vincent
Prime Minister Perry Christie told the Caribbean Energy Security Summit in Washington, D.C. that without massive investment, transformation of the energy sector and the achievement of respective sustainable development goals is out of reach.
And the United States, which hosted the summit, can help with the achievement of those goals in "practical ways," he said: funding without conditionalities and the facilitation of the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Christie - who spoke on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) - pointed out that energy has direct implications for economic development: Since most of the Caribbean is non-industrialized and heavily dependent on tourism, energy costs have a direct effect on pricing, which can affect competitiveness as it relates to the Caribbean's place in global tourism.
"The reality is that as population levels and living standards across the region rise, so too does the demand for
electricity and other energy products, including transport fuels. We must therefore attack our energy issues from a basis of developing reliable access to secure, affordable, clean and sustainable energy services," he said.
According to Christie, another reality is that without massive investment, energy sector transformation and achievement of sustainable development goals - as well as the broader sustainable energy for all objectives - are out of reach. While acknowledging the importance of private sector funding in this arena, he said public resources, "including development assistance, need to be used in a catalytic way to attract and leverage sufficient investment to exploit our considerable renewable energy potential."
He said the fundamental question on how we can 'de-risk' the financial environment to substantially increase investments in the clean energy sector.
"With the right policy in place at the national levels, the appropriate regional framework, and a pool of global partners acting in support, low-carbon business action in our community will become a reality," Christie said.
The prime minister assured the summit that governments in the region are tackling the growing energy challenges and moving closer to the various national targets on energy access, renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy security.
"With our partners, we can create specific instruments which can help to reshape and modernize the frameworks for building a strong energy sector," Christie said.
"Together we can also put in place innovative blending of grants and loans to leverage the necessary funds for additional investment to move the energy sector from one that is relatively inefficient and dependent on expensive, imported fossil products to one that is efficient and dependent on cost effective, clean, indigenous sources," he said.
"As governments we must continue to implement the regulatory reforms that increase efficiency, transparency and accountability within the sector."
Thursday 10th November 2011 8:30 AM
Chicos 2011 investment conference and operatrions summit November 10-11,2011 Atlantis resort Nassau, Bahamas Hosted by HVS Welcome to HVS CHICOS 2011: Opportunities and Challenges Facing the Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism Sectors Within the Caribbean Island region, the various destinations offer investors complex but rewarding opportunities for hotel and resort development and acquisition. The inaugural HVS Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (HVS CHICOS) will provide a productive forum to address issues pertinent to the current needs of the Caribbean hospitality sector and to discuss the various opportunities for investors in the Caribbean. Hosted by HVS, the world’s leading hospitality consulting and valuation firm, HVS CHICOS will bring together global investors and operators as well as local Caribbean decision-makers to address the many challenges and opportunities of the Caribbean hotel industry. HVS will use part of the proceeds from this conference for hospitality and tourism education and training of Caribbean residents. HVS CHICOS 2011 follows in HVS’s tradition of organizing leading hotel conferences around the world, including the NYU Hospitality Investment Conference in New York and annual conferences in China, India, South America, and Mexico. HVS looks forward to welcoming you to Nassau, Bahamas, on November 10-11 for HVS CHICOS 2011, where the hospitality industry’s many illustrious global and regional influencers will share their views, insights, and proposed strategies for advancing the hospitality and tourism sectors in the Caribbean in 2011 and beyond. This is an opportunity that you do not want to miss. Conference Venue Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas http://www.atlantis.com/ Audience Investors Global Hotel Developers Owners Operators Lending Institutions Governmental Agencies and Associations Consultants Hotel Accommodations Atlantis Resort Paradise Island, Bahamas Conference Rate Options - The Cove $299 or Royal Towers $199 ** DISCOUNT RATE IS AVAILABLE TO ATTENDEES FROM NOV 7-14, 2011** Book online: http://www.atlantis.com/myevent/hsvmeeting.aspx Or call for reservations : 1-888-528-7155 Request HVS Conference Rate - Code: GHVSCN1 Agenda Chicos program 2011
As the MP for Killarney, I had a vision of working for the people, a vision of people working with people. This vision has come to fruition. We decided as a community to partner together with government and each other to transform our homes and families, improve our environment, and meet the needs of the less fortunate amongst us. Killarnians embraced these concepts through our various community programs. Killarney Kares, Klick with Killarney and Konnect with Killarney were successful catalyst community programs launched throughout the years.
Killarney now wants to introduce you to our KYN Program. Knowing Your Neighbor means that you know their needs, their wants and what it takes to meet the desired results. We also understand what the government can do, what we can do for ourselves, and finally what we can do for others.
When one examines this concept, it is not a new one. From the medical industry, you must know your status to prevent illnesses and outbreaks. In the banking industry, you should know your customer to prevent fraud and illegal transactions. Each Member of Parliament is a leader within the community represented; we must show leadership qualities by working to consolidate those communities through the facilitation of neighborhood associations.
Our goal is to celebrate the family and to strengthen our communities through social, civic, spiritual and physical initiatives. Wholeness is our focus - making a difference, moment by moment, event by event, one life at a time.
Making a difference involves sacrifice. Richard Whately states, "A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own work, but for neglecting his neighbor's." As a community, we will need to sacrifice our time, finances, our skills and ideas. When we pool our resources, many benefit. Jesus' miracle of feeding the multitude with five loaves and two fish was done to teach us an important lesson: A small sacrifice can yield much, when faithfully given and properly allocated.
Volunteerism is the vehicle by which we give of our time and skills to serve others. Our government in recognition of such has called us as a nation to volunteer. Although every community has universal needs, each has its unique needs. By knowing your neighbor, it enables you to know the needs of the elderly, our children, the sick, the hungry, and all that are disenfranchised. Such awareness ought to motivate us to respond.
What are proper responses? Mentoring, particularly male mentoring, tutoring, carpooling, community clean-ups, community gardening, assisting the elderly (grocery or medicine pick-up), and home repairs are just some examples of volunteering within our community.
Killarney was successful in passing the spirit of KYN to bridge the generations, through the introduction of our summer tutoring program. Young students tutored kids in core subjects. We look to expand and have retired teachers within our communities facilitate tutoring in their core competencies. In addition to services and assistance, social interaction is vital as well. Studies conducted at the University of Minnesota show that seniors who have regular conversations with their neighbors and depend on them, have much better odds of surviving strokes than those with less interaction.
Killarney is excited, enthusiastic and motivated to make a difference. There are eight neighborhood associations in Killarney that work tirelessly to embrace the core principles previously mentioned, and we are excited that more associations are on the horizon.
Our challenge is to work together to maximize our individual contributions to improve our communities. With imagination, innovation, sacrifice and commitment, we can make a difference. So I challenge you today to Know Your Neighbor.
The Killarney constituency is pleased to extend our KYN program to Christmas caroling during the Yuletide Season and a Killarney Bowling Tournament for all our neighborhood associations. Stay in touch with Killarney. The second article in this KYN series will further explain our associations and community programs, like crime watch, CCTV and how we are embracing the KYN program. For a better, stronger, safer, healthier, and futuristic Bahamas, let us all begin KYN.
"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change," Author unknown.
Dr. Hubert A. Minnis
Minister of Health
By JAMMAL SMITH
Guardian Business Reporter
Another Canadian airline could possibly be landing on Bahamian runways in the future with Guardian Business learning that the country is in negotiations with a flight carrier from Canada.
Air Transat could be the newest airline from Canada offering services to The Bahamas if an agreement is reached between the two countries. Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace told Guardian Business that no final agreement has been reached yet, and several details must be ironed out before the deal is officially done.
"This is really only the opportunity for us to develop a partnership but we haven't finalized as yet,...
Although senior aviation officials insist American Airline's recent filing for bankruptcy protection won't impact travel to The Bahamas, at least one local executive sees it as an opportunity for domestic airlines to take a greater role in travel to the Family Islands.
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace told Guardian Business that American Airlines filing for Chapter 11 is not at all unusual, as they were the last to hold out of all the trump carriers.
The restructuring, he said, will run its course with minimal disruption.
"We're fairly certain this is not going to affect us in any way," he said.
"We do not expect disruption to service from American Airlines or American Eagle."
On Tuesday, not only did American Airlines file for bankruptcy protection, but it also replaced its chief executive. The crux of the matter, according to reports, hinges on labor issues and the 88,000 employees at the company. American Airlines has also assured the public there will be no disruption to its normal flight schedule.
As of Wednesday morning, American Airlines had seven flights leaving for Miami. The carrier does brisk business to The Bahamas, in addition to service through its subsidiary American Eagle to the Family Islands.
The president and CEO of Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), Stewart Steeves, echoed the sentiments of the Minister of Tourism, saying the filing for bankruptcy is meant to give the airline flexibility to cancel or change contracts as part of its restructuring.
American Airlines does not have a contract with Lynden Pindling International Airport, he noted, and instead pays fees on a flight-by-flight basis.
"I don't expect that they will scale back their flights," he told Guardian Business.
"We expect overall service to continue as they sort out their labor contracts."
But Randy Butler, the CEO of SkyBahamas, did not express quite so much optimism concerning American Airlines in The Bahamas. In particular, he felt American Eagle, the subsidiary flying to the Family Islands, could be first on the chopping block if cutbacks occurred down the road.
"This speaks further to why the government should support their national airlines and give them the right mandate," he explained.
"American Eagle is a service where we are connecting ourselves to the Family Islands. I think you might have more effect there than anything. How are we going to develop these islands?"
Butler felt it was an example of how local carriers could step up and not be at the mercy of swings among international companies.
With more than 122 locals employed with SkyBahamas, he said the local airlines must be more "empowered" and given more responsibility and incentives.