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Wilchcombe: Baha Mar Delay Could Be Beneficial

Although the recent announcement by Baha Mar officials to push back its winter 2014 grand opening to spring 2015 has left many Bahamians worried about the economic future, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said the delay now forces the multi-billion dollar resort to now open at a time when tourism is at its peak in The Bahamas.

In a letter leaked to the press last week, company officials confirmed to employees that a “preview session” will begin at Baha Mar in December leading up to the grand opening in the spring of next year.

The resort was scheduled to open on December 8, 2014.

“I think it’s going to impact tourism in a positive way when it opens,” Minister Wilchcombe told the Bahama Journal.

“People are anticipating the grand opening whenever that is and I’m sure [Baha Mar officials] want to make sure that everything is in order and that’s going to help us in terms of marketing. It’s just a delay but it will help us as we can begin the previews in December as a marketing tool to get the message out to the world and show them what is going to happen in a grand way.”

The tourism minister explained a spring opening for any hotel in The Bahamas is ideal.

“They are going to open during prime time and that’s going to be great for us,” Minister Wilchcombe said.

“No doubt we need the rooms but we need to have the airlift as well and you will see airlift coming on stream over the next few months. This is a positive and will benefit us in the long run.”

Baha Mar Senior Vice President of Government and External Affairs Robert Sands told the Journal last week that what’s happening at Baha Mar should not be “characterised as a delay.”

“It brings more clarity to what we already have in the public,” he said.

“Baha Mar will commence previews in December going into spring culminating with our grand opening in late spring. This has no impact on employment which continues. A preview means we will have invited media, influences, friends and family coming to the resort starting in December.”

A letter sent via email announcing the setback to Baha Mar employees was leaked to the press last week.

“We expect to have the full Baha Mar destination resort open for our guests in late spring 2015,” it read.

“A project of Baha Mar’s scope takes time, talent and people. We are in the process of determining what areas will open at specific dates between December and the grand opening celebration. We’re working through the details with our partners, and expect to know more by October.”

Mr. Dunlap said the company has to decide what areas will open between December and the grand opening now scheduled for early 2015.

The multi-billion dollar resort will include a 100,000 square foot casino, an 18-hole, 72-par Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, an ESPA at Baha Mar spa and more than 12 pools. Officials have said the resort will hire around 4,000 employees prior to opening.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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