Sir Sol Kerzner, one of the most significant investors in the history of the modern Bahamas, died at home today, The Nassau Guardian has confirmed.
“Visionary South African hotelier left an indelible mark on the global hospitality industry,” according to a statement from Kerzner’s family.
“Solomon (Sol) Kerzner, one of the world’s most innovative hoteliers, founder of the Southern Sun hotel group, Sun International and Kerzner International, has died of cancer at the Kerzner family home, Leeukoppie Estate, in Cape Town, South Africa. Always a maverick, Kerzner was a titan of the hotel and resort industry who redefined the scale and scope of integrated destination resorts worldwide.
“He was 84.”
The South African is the business magnate behind the establishment of Atlantis on Paradise Island.
He took over the struggling Paradise Island resorts in the 1990s. His Atlantis then became a sprawling resort destination that employed thousands of Bahamians, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to our country over the years.
At its peak, Atlantis employed more than 9,000 employees. It is the largest private sector employer in the country and the second largest employer overall after the government.
In 2006, Kerzner International was taken private by a group of investors for $3 billion, plus the assumption of $600 million in debt. The investor group included Kerzner and his son Butch, who is now deceased.
However, in 2011, Kerzner sold its flagship properties – Atlantis Paradise Island and Atlantis The Palm – to creditor Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) and partner Dubai World in a debt restructuring.
Sir Sol Kerzner has been described as a “quintessentially visionary entrepreneur who has single-handedly transformed our tourism product.”