Travel

Grand Lucayan Sold

 

By Robyn Adderley

 

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The Government of The Bahamas sold the Grand Lucayan on Monday, March 2, 2020 to a partnership between Royal Caribbean International and ITM (Bahamas Port Investments Ltd.), which is expected to make a $250 million investment between the hotel and the redevelopment of the cruise port. 

 

The Heads of Agreement Signing Ceremony was held on the Great Lawn of the property, some 11 months following the signing of the Letter of Intent on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

 

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis described the day as a wonderful one, as the government’s intention was never to hold on to the   property, but initially purchased it to save jobs of Grand Bahamians and businesses. 

 

“As we stated at the time, it was our intention to privatize the property as quickly as possible. We wanted to ensure that we found the right buyer who shared our vision for the renewal of Grand Bahama. Our vision was the renewal and rebirth of Grand Bahama’s tourism sector and product as an essential element in the restoration of this island’s potential.

 

 

 

The Prime Minister also noted that discussions are currently ongoing to determine the best way to redevelop the Grand Bahama International Airport, which will require a major investment. 

 

Minister of Tourism & Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, said, “I am extremely excited that the intended purchasers of this hotel are Royal Caribbean and the ITM Group. Between them, they are well funded to bring to the table a great deal of experience in the tourism sector, and have a proven track record of successful projects.”

 

The development projected for the Grand Lucayan will bring about a total transformation of the resort. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be invested into the property to refurbish/renovate/reconstruct 500 rooms in Phase One and another 500 rooms along with 500 villas in Phase Two. Additional features will include a new casino, a spectacular water theme park and a new shopping, restaurant and retail center. In addition, a new cruise port will be built in the Freeport Harbour to accommodate three ships in Phase One and up to seven ships in subsequent phases. As a result of the purchase, 3,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created in construction as well as in employment at the hotel and cruise port.

 

Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson, gave welcome remarks. Also giving remarks were Robert Shamosh, Chief Executive Officer, Holistica Destinations; Mauricio Hamui, Chief Executive Officer, ITM; and Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. 

 

Also, in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Peter Turnquest and other Ministers of Cabinet; Members of Parliament, Permanent Secretaries, Senior Government Officials, representatives from the business community, taxi drivers, and straw vendors.

 

Immediately following the official ceremony, guests were treated to the pulsating sounds of a Junkanoo Rushout followed by a reception. 

 

 

 

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SIGNING CEREMONY -- The Government of The Bahamas and Bahamas Port Investments Ltd. signed a Heads of Agreement with respect to purchase of the Grand Lucayan today, March 2, 2020. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis (standing, second right) said the multi-million dollar investment "will go a long way in revitalizing Grand Bahama, with myriad economic and employment opportunities for more Grand Bahamians." Seated at left are Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley (left) and CEO of ITM Mauricio Hamui, representing the Developer; and at right, Secretary to the Cabinet Camille Johnson (second right) and Director of Investments Candia Ferguson. Standing from left: Minister Iram Lewis, Minister of State Kwasi Thompson, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, and Minister Dionisio D'Aguilar. (BIS Photo/Yontalay Bowe)

 


AIR JAMAICA, OFFERS MORE TRAVEL OPTIONS TO FLORIDA WITH THE RESUMPTION OF SERVICE TO MIAMI

Air Jamaica, operated by Caribbean Airlines, made its return to Miami International on December 9. The four times weekly service, operates on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The introduction of this new service, comes ideally for the Christmas peak season, offering customers more travel options into and out of North America.

Caribbean Airlines CEO Robert Corbie states, “The resumption of direct service to Miami by our Air Jamaica brand solidifies our commitment to offering our customers better connectivity to North America, providing more options to and from Florida from Jamaica. As the only regional carrier to offer non-stop services from Jamaica to three of Florida’s major cities, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and now Miami, we are a fundamental resource in Caribbean aviation. We believe in the added value of our product and continue to provide a reliable, flexible and dependable operation. Our added value package entitles our passengers to frequent flyer miles, two free pieces of checked baggage up to 50 lbs, in-flight entertainment and complimentary meals.”


South Florida Caribbean News: Trinidad and Tobago has been voted "ISLAND OF THE YEAR"

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NEW YORK - Trinidad and Tobago has been voted "ISLAND OF THE YEAR" by Caribbean World Travel and Living Magazine. Also receiving accolades from Caribbean World Travel and Living Magazine were Blue Haven Hotel in Tobago who won the 2009 Best Boutique Hotel of the Year and Coco Reef Resort, also in Tobago, who won Best Luxury... Read More...


What Recession? It’s Urban Beach Week!

South beach

Urban Beach Weekend…Black Beach Weekend…Hip Hop Weekend…Memorial Day Weekend. Call it what you like; there are hundreds of thousands of young black people on South Beach this weekend. That translates to millions of dollars spent for an unofficial festival not really welcomed by Miami Beach officials. Hmmm….

It also translates to lots of scantily clad females, guys with cameras and styling and profiling in customized vehicles. I don't begrudge any of that because it's all a part of being young during these days and times. The paint jobs on those vehicles are sometimes mind-blowingly creative and let's not talk about the hydraulics --- awesome! Some of my young sisters could show a little more class in their attire though. There is a difference between sexy and skanky. I'm just saying.

Some Miami Beach residents and businesses vacate the place during this weekend. Too many people…way too much traffic. Of course, law enforcement will be on the scene. Let's hope everyone behaves themselves and stays safe. Leave the guns and Jerry Springer Show fights at home, please.

Of course, the visitors will be on the lookout for celebrities that we see here all the time. Whatever the reason, news reports indicate hotels are booked at 92%; that's definitely welcome during this…uh…recession. What recession?

One more thing, can we try to remember the reason for this weekend and honor the service men and women who served this nation and gave their lives? Peace - Light- Love.


Commissioner Sally Heyman joins the Hispanic Coalition to sponsor a U.S. Passport Day in District 4

(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- In continuing with her ongoing efforts to "Bring Government Closer to the People", Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman has joined The Hispanic Coalition to sponsor a U.S. Passport Day in District 4.  On Friday, February 15th from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. those persons interested in applying for a new or renewed U.S. Passport can go to the North Shore Park & Youth Center located at 501 72nd Street in Miami Beach.

"Hosting this event in my district will allow those applying for a passport the ability to have face to face contact with members of the Miami Passport Agency without having to travel to downtown Miami to do so," said Commissioner Heyman.

Each new U.S. Passport applicant must have:  a government issued I.D.; two (2) identical passport size color photos; proof of U.S. Citizenship (certified copy of birth certificate or original Naturalization Certificate -no photocopies will be accepted).  If you are applying for a passport for your minor children, you need to bring the child's birth certificate listing parent(s) names.  If both parents cannot attend, then a notarized consent form signed by the non-appearing parent must be submitted with the application or the applying parent must submit evidence of sole custody.  The cost for a NEW adult passport (16 yrs old and older) is $100; for a minor (15 and younger) $85.  Payment is accepted in the form of a personal check or money order made payable to:  U.S. Department of State.

To RENEW a passport, you must have your previous, undamaged passport, issued with the past 15 years; you were at least 16 years of age when your last passport was issued; you still have the same name as in your previous passport (or can legally document your name change); submit two (2) identical passport size color photos and pay $75 with a personal check or money order made payable to: U.S. Department of State.

For more information, please call Commissioner Heyman's district office at 305-787-5999.