Monday, Jan 21, 2019
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Baha Mar at the right time

Rosewood at Baha Mar. FILE

The final hotel of the Baha Mar resort will have its ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday as it prepares to open for guests June 1. The Rosewood tower was expected to open in April to first accommodate “friends and family”. In two weeks it will open to those who reserved rooms through normal bookings.

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar opened April 2017, and SLS at Baha Mar in November.

The development has added to an already vibrant Cable Beach, which was already home to the Melia Nassau Beach, Superclubs Breezes and Sandals Royal Bahamian.

Baha Mar has employed 4,000 people. It projects growing to a total of 5,000 employees over the next year.

Developer Sarkis Izmirlian lost control of the property in bankruptcy proceedings in The Bahamas overseen by the Supreme Court. Out of it, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, a Hong Kong conglomerate, became the resort’s owner.

The $4 billion property has moved beyond those contentious days and is becoming a popular choice for visitors. And for us, Baha Mar is fully opening at the right time.

Our major market, the United States, is experiencing good times. The U.S. economy has grown for 16 consecutive quarters. In the most recent quarter, the first quarter of 2018, it grew by 2.3 percent on an annualized basis. And, the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Donald Trump put even more money in the pockets of Americans.

Barring any major global events, growth in the U.S. is expected to continue.

We are seeing the signs of strength from the north. The airport in New Providence reported robust first quarter arrival numbers this year – numbers that haven’t been seen since the beginning of the Great Recession a decade ago.

There is hope that a vibrant Baha Mar and a still attractive Atlantis would lead the way in growing the number of stopover visitors from the 1.34 million who came to The Bahamas in 2017.

After a long, hard decade of recession and stagnation, we seem to finally be on a sustained growth trajectory. In 2017, the Bahamian economy grew by 1.4 percent. It is expected to grow by 2.5 percent this year and 2.25 percent in 2019.

Bahamians should be pleased that the resort is progressing. This country has an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent. Baha Mar will be a big part of driving that figure down.

Its success is our success. Baha Mar guests and employees will spread wealth across the economy.


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