Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Perry Christie, has expressed confidence in the future of the Bahamian economy, as Baha Mar Development Ltd announced a major undertaking in its proposed $2 billion plans for Cable Beach.
On Monday, January 15 at the Radisson Cable Beach Resort, Baha Mar, Harrah’s Entertainment and Starwood Hotels formalised a Letter of Intent for a management agreement of the resort. This move also brings together world-class brands of Caesar’s Palace, St Regis, Westin and Sheraton Hotels to The Bahamas.
The announcement of a joint agreement for the creation of the Caribbean largest single-phase destination resort is truly a defining development of unprecedented proportions,” the Prime Minister said during the signing ceremony.
“I am most pleased to have the world-renowned Harrah’s Entertainment partnering with Baha Mar in this mega joint venture development,” he said. “This joint venture is intended to bring to fruition my Government’s initiatives and vision for the redevelopment of Cable Beach.”
Sarkis Izmirlian, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Baha Mar Development Ltd noted that, “Many have taken our silence and delay in announcing our joint venture as a sign that this very ambitious project would never become reality.
“This partnership assures the resort future success, thanks in part to the distribution power of our partners and their 67 million active customers,” he said.
The marketing strength, he added, will allow Baha Mar to maximise its contributions to the Bahamian economy upon opening. In its first year, the company hopes to welcome 500,000 guests to its property, via the Lynden Pindling International Airport.
Baha Mar also predicts $560 million annually to the local economy, and a contribution of $11.2 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next 20 years.
On April 6, 2006, the Government of The Bahamas and Baha Mar Development Ltd. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sarkis Izmirlian signed a Heads of Agreement for the redevelopment of Cable Beach into a Las Vegas style resort.
The partners are proposing the create the largest free-standing spa, a 20-acre beach and pool, a 50,000 square feet village, a modern casino, 3,550 guest rooms for the largest gaming resort in the Caribbean, 200,000 sq ft of meeting space, among other amenities.
The construction of Baha Mar is to begin this year. The $1.6 billion to be spent in the first phase will provide up to 5,000 jobs in construction, with many spin-off benefits to the economy, including business opportunities. When completed, about 7,000 permanent jobs will be created.
The Prime Minister said that Mr Izmirlian articulated his vision about Cable Beach some two years ago, and it was agreed to work together “resolutely, to bring about the transformation and do so in a way that the result would be an enduring benefit to the people of this island and the people of our country.”
Prime Minister was pleased with the thousands of steady jobs for Bahamians the project would provide.
This joint venture is intended to bring to fruition, what I also would describe as an extraordinary basket of benefits for the Bahamian people. Cable Beach would become a glittering, one-of-a-kind world-class resort and a beacon for high-end visitors from around the world,” he said.
Minister of Tourism the Hon Obie Wilchcombe noted that the project would impact tourism around the world as it would The Bahamas.
“It sends a testimony to the world about the status of the tourism plant in The Bahamas,” he said. “It speaks volumes of the immeasurable value and capacity of the Bahamian people and it does attest to the wonderful relationship of the private and public sectors, both working to the interest of the Bahamian people.”
Roberts ‘Sandy’ Sands, senior vice president of external affairs for Baha Mar, noted that the objective is to transform the Cable Beach area into a unique tourist destination, featuring world class brands.