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Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said to increase overall occupancy and to transform Resorts World Bimini Bay into a year round destination, a strategic transformation plan is being implemented that addresses product placement.
The Prime Minister brought remarks at the opening of the Resorts World Bimini Bay Casino in Bimini, Friday, June 28, 2013...
California -- Reef Worlds Inc, the leading underwater tourism
development firm in the U.S., is introducing their new experiential
Underwater Worlds for the Caribbean at all inclusive resorts with a new
$4.5 million dollar development budget.
The program is designed
to help resorts in the Caribbean grow market share, increase customer
satisfaction, and develop a competitive edge through unique, exciting,
and interactive underwater worlds designed for the environment and for
tourism. These completely unique and exciting underwater sites are
RAV Bahamas is still
very much in Bimini's tourism development picture, according to a joint
statement made by RAV and Bimini's newest investor, Resorts World
Bimini, a subsidiary of the Genting Group, a multinational corporation
engaged in a growing portfolio of leisure and gaming development and
resort operations in The Americas.
In June 2012, Genting Malaysia
joint ventured with RAV Bahamas, developer of Bimini Bay Resort &
Marina and Rockwell Island Beach Estates, to build the 10,000 square
foot Resorts World Bimini Casino.
AFTER safety setbacks kept the Resorts World Bimini SuperFast in the port of Miami for two weeks, the vessel was cleared to take 500 guests to Bimini for its inaugural trip Saturday morning.
Guests on board the 10-storey ship enjoyed several restaurants, bars, and a casino, while on a two-and-a-half hour journey to the Bahamas, which is to continue daily until it is increased to twice daily in August...
Major resorts in Exuma are expecting a full house this weekend for the annual regatta and hoping the event will further market the destination to the world.
Jeremy Mutton, general manager at Sandals Emerald Bay, said the property is riding a wave of high occupancy that started back in January. Reporting occupancy consistently in the 90 percent range and above, he said aggressive marketing campaigns by the company last year are now starting to pay off.
"It really seems to be producing dividends," he told Guardian Business.
"We have had some strong months and benefited from some large groups. Meanwhile, the Exuma Regatta will be very busy and Sandals is one of the main sponsors. We are actively involved and provide a complementary shuttle all weekend."
Mutton said the high occupancy levels, based on bookings and forecasts, should take the property well into May.
The Exuma Regatta, however, provides a particular boost and allows the company to participate in the community. The Sandals executive said participating in the event would enhance the overall vacation experience.
"Sandals is not just Exuma," he added. "The history in Exuma and the culture is paramount to the guest experience. The guests really enjoy getting out of the resort as well."
A little further down the beach, another luxury resort is also poised for a busy weekend.
Peter Nicholson, the leading investor in the community, said his villas are completely full for the weekend. He also reported full occupancy earlier in April.
Grand Isle is currently undergoing a resurgence after Nicholson, a Canadian businessman, purchased 31 luxury villas and pulled the troubled development out of receivership.
"The majority of my guests are from Nassau, and a few are from North America and Europe. The regatta is a wonderfully busy time of the year where locals and tourists all enjoy themselves," he said. "I think it's very important for the Exuma economy. My anecdotal evidence is it feels as busy as Christmas season or March break."
Mutton told Guardian Business that marketing and events such as the Exuma Regatta are part of a "continuous process" of making sure tourists understand there is more to The Bahamas than New Providence and Paradise Island. According to him the $80 million resort is on track to fulfill the bold prediction made by Adam Stewart, the CEO of Sandals, back in December. Stewart told Guardian Business that the resort will be profitable by 2014.
"This time last year, It would have been full. Last year, at this time, we had less rooms. We had 183 rooms, and now we have 245 with the additions back in the summer. It was almost a third increase. We are averaging 80 percent occupancy this year, but that's based on a significantly higher number of rooms."
To meet the demand, Mutton said the resort recently hired 25 additional staff during a recruitment drive in Nassau, bringing the total staff complement up to an incredible 600 people. Being on a small island, he admitted that it is not always easy finding quality staff.
Sandals has also committed to taking on 20 individuals from the local high school once they graduate this year, he revealed. The young Bahamians will be taken on as interns over a one-year period, after which they will be offered full-time jobs.
"What you find, particularly in the more specialized jobs, is it's very difficult to get the quality and experience. We put them in those areas, and cultivate the home-grown talent," Mutton explained.
Cat Island and Harbour Island - Despite initial reports of devastated resort properties, several resorts in Cat Island and Harbour Island described damage from Hurricane Irene as "cosmetic" and predicted being ready to open as early as the first week of September.
Tourism officials in Exuma are projecting that the National Family Island Regatta will haul in more than $250,000 in revenue. Petherina Hanna, general manager at Exuma's tourism office, noted that everyone in Exuma is benefiting economically from the four-day sailing event, which began on Wednesday.
It's undeniable that there is a need for foreign direct investment throughout the country to provide capital injection, development and employment for locals.
A number of examples can be seen throughout the nation, including Atlantis, the container port facility operated by Hutchinson Whampoa, Morton Salt and the SandyPort Development Company.
However, the bone of contention arises with developments that involve hundreds of thousands of acres of prime Bahamian land, but lie dormant for a considerable amount of time, providing neither access to the land nor any of the financial benefits associated with foreign direct investment.
Often developers have grandiose ideas of how projects can be developed, but what about those projects where progress is, to say the least, challenged? For example, six years ago the previous Christie administration signed a heads of agreement between the government and the I-Group, yielding a 50/50 split for a proposed land development on Mayaguana. That meant an initial transfer of 9,999 acres of Crown land to the company.
By all indications, the $1.8 billion investment should have materialized over a 15-year period, during which the developers were expected to spend a minimum of $14 million over a two-year span after the original agreement was signed in 2006.
The subsequent Ingraham administration renegotiated the deal, and now, under the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), the long-awaited project is undergoing more change.
Six years after the agreement was signed, the land remains mostly undeveloped.
Now is the time for the government to put the necessary framework in place, to say that at least two years after an agreement is signed, ground should be broken and development should move ahead with full steam. Such a framework would, where possible, eliminate delays that result in hundreds of acres of land being tied up in a "wait-and-see" type of investment.
For instance, after a grace period expires, the land should be placed back on the market, forfeited, or bought back by the government at a reasonable price. Now is the time for the government to address this issue.
Additionally, in instances where developments do come online, they need to be sustainable and provide their own electricity and water supply where possible, so that there is not a drain on the local population's resources.
I advocate, in the Family Islands, boutique resorts that fit in with the local landscape instead of mega-resort monstrosities. New Providence is already overly developed, but there is much room for sensitive but successful development on the Family Islands. Investors should be encouraged to consider such opportunities.
Replicas of large-scale developments on New Providence are unnecessary on the Family Islands; instead, why not focus on developments that co-exist with the natural environment, fit in with Family Island culture, and offer a different, diverse atmosphere while providing the benefits of foreign direct investments?
o William Wong is the president of Wong and Associates Realty. He was also a two- term president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and the Bahamas Real Estate Association. Questions or comments can be emailed to William@wongsrealty.com.
A senior Baha Mar executive yesterday said its two existing resorts and the wider hotel industry were "about 75 per cent" of the way to getting back to pre-recession business levels, even though the April 2011 performance at Cable Beach was behind forecast.
Robert Sands, Baha Mar's senior vice-president of external and government affairs, told Tribune Business that average occupancy at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort for April 2011, which included the peak Easter period, was "basically flat" against 2010 comparatives at 74 per cent.
At the Wyndham, the average occupancy was "slightly behind last year", Mr Sands sa ...
Resorts World Bimini Bahamas, the multi-million dollar, luxury gaming facility set to open in North Bimini in the first quarter of 2013 recently unveiled stunning renderings showcasing the highly anticipated venue. The casino is
being launched by a partnership between RAV Bahamas LTD....