NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The government has granted Royal Caribbean International (RCI) approval for its $100 million beach club project on Paradise Island, it was announced yesterday. According to a statement from Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper, the project, when completed, will offer guests beach and water sport activities, as well as Bahamian entertainment and retail experiences.
“The government is satisfied that it has addressed previous objections to the project by ensuring much greater Bahamian participation at all phases of the construction and in the ongoing operations. RCI will not have equity ownership in any ferry business from Prince George Wharf to the site. Several key activities at the site, including water sports, entertainment, tours, food & beverage, retail, security, environmental monitoring, and landscaping, will be reserved principally for Bahamian entrepreneurs and businesses,” said Cooper, who has ministerial responsibility for tourism, aviation, and investments.
Cooper further stated that the government will impose a Tourism Development Fund Levy of one percent of the annual gross revenue of the Royal Beach Club.
“Further, the Government intends to convert the crown land contribution into an equity stake of the project. That equity stake will be conveyed to the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
Bahamians will also be invited to invest in the project and hold equity up to 49 percent, with the remainder being held by RCI.
This project will create hundreds of jobs, both during the construction and operational phases, further contributing meaningfully to the tourism rebound and economic growth that has been set in motion by the focused policy initiatives of this administration,” said Cooper.
He noted that at full capacity, the Beach Club can accommodate less than five percent of the cruise passenger arrivals each day.
“We anticipate this development will attract more tourists off the ships and will, therefore, have minimal adverse impact on existing businesses. This first-of-a-kind project for RCI will cover 17 acres – of which 13 acres represent privately held land and some four acres of crown land that were included in the lease to RCI by the former Administration. It is important to note that the land currently proposed under the project has not been subject to any dispute or litigation. Final approval of the project is subject to submission and approval of a standard Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and an Environmental Management Plan,” Cooper added.
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