August 25, 2017
A familiar face, Sunwing Travel Group, confirmed yesterday that it is working along with the government to get Grand Bahama's tourism product back on track.
Sunwing's confirmation sheds light on the government's tight-lipped dealings surrounding the parties involved in the re-opening of the Grand Lucayan resort.
In response to Guardian Business questions yesterday, Sunwing said it "can confirm that it has been working with the government and all interested parties to finalize an agreement that would see Grand Bahama flourish again".
"Over the last four years, Sunwing's operation into Grand Bahama saw tourism increase by over 150 percent, and we believe that we can increase that even further under the right conditions," Sunwing continued.
"Due to the fact that these negotiations are fluid and ongoing, based on what is right for the people of Grand Bahama island, the government and the overall future of the island, we are not in a position to provide any more detailed information at this moment."
But Sunwing's decision to re-enter Grand Bahama's tourism scene may come as a surprise.
Sunwing was once the hotel operator behind the former Memories Grand Bahama property.
Sunwing and the property's owner, Hutchison Whampoa, failed to reach an agreement to restore the resort after the passage of Hurricane Matthew.
In February, Sunwing said that, after it had "sought consent by the hotel owners for restoration, regrettably the owner attempted to impose exorbitant conditions that were totally unacceptable to Sunwing".
Sunwing was required to vacate the Memories resort premises on January 29 of this year.
It is still unclear about the conditions Sunwing would be returning on.
In the span of two days, the Grand Lucayan deal has entered a roller coaster of uncertainties.
On Wednesday, Paul Wynn, CEO of the Wynn Group - the former forerunner to purchase the property - announced that he was pulling out of the bid to purchase the resort.
Wynn revealed that he was prepared to work with either AMResorts or Sunwing Travel Group to bring Grand Lucayan back to life; he presented these two options to government.
However, he indicated that the government did not reach out to him regarding the deal as of Wednesday.
Instead, the government issued a statement yesterday, stating that "discussions with the relevant parties are continuing".
In July, the government announced that it was considering taking an equity stake in the Grand Lucayan hotel in order to help the island's economy rebound.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said renovations at the resort could begin this month, with the intention of the hotel opening for the winter season.
Renovations have not started to date.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian