His remarks came while giving the keynote address at the annual Christmas luncheon for the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA).
Mr. Christie also added that a total of 5,700 direct jobs are expected to be created through the Baha Mar resort.
“Chow Tai Fook Enterprises is arranging for operation by the Grand Hyatt of the Casino and Convention hotels and of other properties by SLS and Rosewood, all internationally renowned brands, beginning with a phased opening in the second quarter of 2017,” he said.
“The first phase opening of Baha Mar is expected in the second quarter of 2017, this operation will almost immediately have an economic impact, and my government has been working to ensure there will be continual employment opportunities in the tourism sector.
“Starting with the hiring of 1.500 employees at Baha Mar early in the New Year, this is to facilitate the phasing in of 1,800 rooms at the conference and casino hotel, and up to 3,300 by August 2017 and 4,300 by the end of December 2017,” Mr. Christie said.
The prime minister also said CTFE will invest $200 million in pre-opening festivities, development of family amenities, entertainment and offshore island facilities and demolition and re-development of the former Crystal Palace Hotel.
Mr. Christie also added that several oncoming projects will provide a major boost to the tourism sector and the economy at large, boding well for the future of the Bahamas.
“The completion of the Baha Mar mega resort is complemented by the opening of the $250 million all inclusive Warwick Hotel on Paradise Island and the phase construction at The Pointe slated for completion at the end of September 2018.
“These are all developments that are expected to have an immediate and significant impact on commercial activity, employment, government revenue in New Providence and a direct impact on the rest of the country,” Mr. Christie said.
A government delegation left for China on Thursday to meet with CTFE.
The group includes Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson; Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe; Sir Baltron Bethel and four officials from the Gaming Board.
Last week, the government received the highly anticipated Baha Mar proposals from prospective buyer Chow Tai Fook enterprises (CTFE), including a list of operators that the Hong Kong-based conglomerate is eyeing to run the shuttered mega-resort’s casino – the largest in The Bahamas and the Caribbean.