The $3.5 billion Baha Mar Caribbean resort and casino in Nassau, Bahamas was originally set to open in December 2014, and has missed various projections including a March 27 soft opening. Conflicts, including a construction slowdown by the main contractor, China Construction America (CCA) have delayed the opening until “sometime this fall”. Bookings for hotells were being accepted earlier this year and disappointed travelers were not given much time to reschedule vacations.
According to a report in the local Tribune 242 news site, when contacted public relations director for Baha Mar, Paul Turnquest said, “Baha Mar is committed to applying its best efforts to have construction on the project properly completed and in turn to having a successful opening of Baha Mar as a premier world-class destination resort… Baha Mar has publicly expressed the importance of all parties involved with the project fulfilling the assurances they have made. Beyond this, Baha Mar has no further comment.”
Tour operators are taking various approaches to the dilemma with one taking bookings for an anticipated November opening while others are holding back on offering the property to customers. Potential accommodations at the resort include the Baha Mar Casino and Hotel, SLS Lux at Baha Mar, Rosewood at Baha Mar, and Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar properties.
On June 10 it was announced that sbe had sold SLS South Beach as part of a new management strategy which will focus on SLS LUX at Baha Mar in Nassau as well as 12 other properties under development.
Meanwhile, Baha Mar’s deputy general manager, Asia, Wayne Hu, wrapped up a four day event Thursday at the Shanghai Exhibition Center in China. “It really opened up opportunities for collaboration for of us, buyers were far more receptive than we anticipated, especially of a new destination such as the Bahamas,” he told MICE News Philippines. “The [International Luxury Travel Market] show was very well run, and the individual buyers spot on. It was our first year, and we will be looking at a bigger presence next year.”
The International Monetary Fund recently released an analysis of the Bahamas growth stating, ““Growth is expected to strengthen over 2015–2016 with the improvement in US activity and the opening of Baha Mar, but significant structural impediments remain,” the IMF said.
“The full opening of Baha Mar and two smaller projects, together with the strengthening US economy, could represent a major boost to exports in the near-term.
“Beyond 2016, growth would taper off as US growth decelerates, and the base effects from the opening of Baha Mar fade.”
Prime Minister Perry Christie has worked diligently to broker resolutions to problems and get the resort back on track, as the development is crucial to the country’s economic rebound plans. The country is currently experiencing unemployment rates in excess of 15%.
“This single phase development is the largest of its kind in this hemisphere (and) has already hired 2,000 new employees and will ramp up further, increasing to 5,000 when fully operational,” Mr Christie said. “I remain fully engaged with the developer, general contractor, the Chinese government and the hotel operators in bringing this project to a successful conclusion at the earliest possible time.”