Last December, the Bahamas government announced that the Baha Mar mega resort had been sold to property developer and business conglomerate, CTF BM Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong conglomerate Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd.
The announcement of the sale of the US$3.5 billion project ended months of calls by the main opposition Free National Movement (FNM) for the government to publicly declare the owners of the property project which has been stalled for several months and missed at least two opening deadlines, after running out of money.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the Perry Christie government said that CTFE has significant assets inclusive of the Rosewood Hotel Group which it owns, and other landmark hotels that it operates in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world
It said CFTE operates over 60 hotels worldwide and gaming investments and operations in Australia and other developments around the world.
The government said that Phase one of Baha Mar, comprises the first Grand Hyatt hotel and Convention Centre in the Region – being 1800-room hotels and a 200,000 square feet Convention Centre.
“The 95,000 square foot, world class casino, is the largest in the region, outside of Las Vegas. The 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Golf Course is a joint venture between the Government and CTFE, which provides for collaboration with the Golf Federation and access for Bahamians. Other magnificent amenities, are also a part of Phase 1.”
It said that over the ensuing months other brands and facilities, will be opened and completed, including the renowned brands of Rosewood and SLS, a luxurious spa, racquet club, restaurants, entertainment and attractive shops set in 60,000 square feet of retail space.
The Christie administration, which is campaigning for the May 10 general elections here, said that there will be an incremental increase in the number of Bahamians employed at the Baha Mar predicting that as many as 5, 500 direct jobs will be created when all the hotels are open in the coming months.
“The multiplier effect will see the creation of an even greater number of indirect jobs within the Bahamian economy. Bahamian entrepreneurs are already providing goods and services to the resort and its guests and this category will grow over the ensuing days and months.”
The government said that Baha Mar is expected to generate over US$700 million in direct annual economic output and US$1.1 billion in indirect and induced output and to contribute over US$45 million in taxes annually, just from resort operations and national insurance contributions.
“The Ministry of Tourism is excited about a new era in our tourism industry as with Baha Mar’s international brands like Grand Hyatt, 40 per cent of the Nassau and Paradise Island’s total room inventory, is now in the upscale and luxury product category, moving The Bahamas toward a more high-end, upscale market.
“The Ministry continues to negotiate increasing airlift and direct flights from many U.S. and other destinations. At Phase 2 opening Baha Mar is projected to generate an additional 315,000 air passenger seats annually, an increase of 19 per cent over our 2015 record of arrivals and signalling in the marketplace the revitalization of the Bahamas tourism brand,” the statement added.
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