The potential reopening of the Grand Lucayan and Memories Hotels could bring positive effects for other resorts on the island, said Vernon Grant, Castaways Resort and Suites Sales and Marketing Manager.
In an interview with this daily on Tuesday (January 2, 2018) Grant shared his expectations for the New Year.
In December 2017 Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that a Letter of Intent (LOI) had been signed by Hutchison Whampoa, the Cheung Kong Properties Holdings, the Paul Wynn Group of Canada and the top representative for the government in Grand Bahama, for the sale of the Grand Lucayan.
Shortly after that announcement Senator Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State in Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister stated that the LOI is a significant advancement of the lengthy, ongoing negotiations towards activating a major component of the tourism/hospitality artery of the island.
He added that it could result in hundreds of people gaining employment.
Grant said that this deal would speak volumes for Grand Bahama. “In that they would be able to bring in more airlifts and by having more airlifts coming into Grand Bahama, persons would go and stay at that resort.”
He noted that it would create employment for the island and boost the economy, because of a domino effect that it would create.
“There would be, in my opinion, great, dramatic spinoff effects,” he said.
Grant added that these effects will branch out to other businesses on Grand Bahama, because the abundance of visitors would want to explore the island and see the other resorts.
“Also with more persons coming to the island not everybody would be able to afford staying up there, then that’s where we would come in,” he said.
He noted that taxi drivers, straw vendors and many others would benefit from the opening of the hotels.
“That in itself, to me, is more economic empowerment for Grand Bahama and the spinoff effect will cause more circulation in terms of the revenue,” he added.
Grant disclosed that Castaways will be focusing on giving back to residents by offering competitive Guest Room rates for their domestic customers from Bahamian islands as well as the Turks and Caicos.
“We plan to reach out to them by offering special weekend rates for special events when activities happen on Grand Bahama such as funerals, weddings, birthdays, church ceremonies and things of that nature,” he explained.
He added that Castaways would also be partnering with other resorts to further improve their hospitality services from the previous year.
Grant revealed that last year business at the resort was relatively good, considering that the local economy is suffering.
“Business was moderately successful for us in that we were holding our own, bearing in mind the bad economy that is in Grand Bahama,” he said.
He added that Castaways believes in Bahamian travelers, which is why the Bahamian owned resort is still up and running and trying its best to welcome as many of them as possible.
Grant noted that the resort still caters to foreign guests as well and they utilize social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, and the Internet at large to advertise.
They also partner with other local companies to provide activities for guests.
Grant revealed that management is currently reviewing their plans for Valentine’s Day 2018.
According to Grant the Minister of Tourism and Aviation, Dionisio D’Aguilar, recently held a Tourism Board staff meeting on Grand Bahama, at Castaways Resort and Suites in the Poinciana Board Room.
“On Monday, November 20, 2017 we took time out with the Tourism Minister to present him with a Castaways Resort and Suites’ Certificate of Knowledge for hosting his meeting on our property,” he said.
The certification acknowledged the fact that the minister now has knowledge and experience about the local resort.
Grant concluded, noting that Castaways will continue to hold its own and will also continue to offer excellent hospitality service to the public.