Ahead of the scheduled April opening of the first phase of its Baha Mar Casino And Hotel in the Bahamas, operator Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited has reportedly revealed that it has received over 11,000 applications from people interested in working at the new $3.5 billion integrated casino resort.

According to a report from The Tribune newspaper, Hong Kong-listed Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited, which has a presence in global real estate, hospitality, transportation and casino businesses, began the hiring process last month via its website at Careers.BahaMar.com and hopes to have taken on some 1,500 employees by the time the development on New Providence Island opens.

Kristy Cowper, Human Resources Vice-President for Baha Mar Casino And Hotel, reportedly told the local newspaper that she was “excited” by the applicant turnout, which recently hit 11,500, with the venue initially looking to fill positions for its golf course, casino and hotel before moving on to other areas. She declared that approximately 600 applicants for a hotel position had progressed to the final stages of the interview process while her office was currently closely scrutinizing the requests of 200 people interested in a casino role.

“We are progressing in spots that we need to and are making strides in areas that have treated us well in the past,” Cowper told The Tribune. “Every single day we are working our channels to ensure that the persons we are bringing on board are persons capable and able. We had a large percentage of former employees that were well-versed in what we intended to do here and while we are, for lack of a better phrase, a “new company”, the goals still remain the same about how we look at future employees.”

Cowper told The Tribune that her office is set to pursue the “best and most necessary talent” for Baha Mar Casino And Resort, which is scheduled to open from April 21, and had received a “promising” response from hundreds of former employees.

“We reached out to those former employees; it was done so with the view that they were not only aware of efforts, but more so, that they were already trained to some level and excited to be a part of what we are building here,” Cowper told the newspaper. “In many instances, these persons had completed three to five levels of interviews, signed contracts and were ready to go. It was necessary to reach out to those persons because of affiliation but that was only the first step in one-half of our efforts. We gave the same attention to going out there and finding new applicants.”

Referring to the development’s past hardships, Cowper told The Tribune that her office was battling to change the perception that potential employees may hold by going beyond the norm in terms of the hiring process.

“We continue to reach out,” Cowper told the newspaper. “It is a bit tricky with new applicants but we are sure that our strategy is working. We started our Blue Mixer event last week, which places potential employees in a social setting with department and resort heads [and allows] us to quickly find those that are truly interested in the Baha Mar [Casino And Resort] brand. It’s initiatives like this we feel are making the difference as we progress toward our opening date.”