The Bahamas Weekly Facebook The Bahamas Weekly Twitter
News : Grand Bahama Last Updated: Jun 20, 2014 - 5:05:44 PM


A ray of hope?
By Genea Noel, The Freeport News
Apr 19, 2010 - 8:49:09 PM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

1493375.gif
Freeport, Grand Bahama - (The Freeport News) As speculation grows that the Royal Oasis Hotel is under consideration to be bought by major investors, namely Sol Kerzner, owner of Atlantis or even the Hutchison Whampoa group, Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace could not confirm the reports.

Talks of a possible sale are reportedly the reason for the increase of businesses opening at the International Bazaar and while Vanderpool-Wallace encouraged more persons to show confidence in the economy, he said that there is "nothing that he could tell us about at this time" about either of the rumoured buyers or anyone else.

Shop owners, straw-vendors and workers at the International Bazaar have for some time been agitating for the reopening of the Royal Oasis Hotel to breathe life back into the once popular shopping and entertainment arena.

According to International Bazaar Owners Association (IBOA) President Chris Paine, during an earlier interview shop owners were being encouraged to make repairs to their buildings to increase business and inspire others to establish business.

Out of the 85 stores that were opened prior to the closure of the hotel, only a mere 38 remained open in July of last year.

Now a sign at the entrance of the Bazaar boasts that 37 new stores and restaurants have opened, signalling a possible financial turnaround in the Grand Bahama economy.

The hope, however, that the hotel will be reopening in the near future seems to be short-lived.

The Tourism Minister noted this but added that there is much being done to improve Grand Bahama's tourism product. He also thanked those directly and indirectly involved for making the progress happen.

"People may be surprised to find that for five days in a row or not so long ago the Our Lucaya Hotel ran 100 percent full and we are continuing to add more product here and add more ways to let people know what Grand Bahama is all about and at a reasonable price," he said.

Vanderpool-Wallace also commented on the failure of Club Grand Bahama which was launched last year to redefine the island as an all inclusive tourist destination

"There is no question that our initial attempt to make sure that the cost of coming to Grand Bahama is much more competitive is bearing some fruit, but until we solve that problem fully, many people have decided that they do not want to come to Grand Bahama," he said, adding that progress is being made in that area.

"We would really like to thank the persons in the industry here from ground transportation upward. They have all come together to make the island much more competitive and we are delighted to see that it is happening."

Meanwhile many remain hopeful that something will be done with the Royal Oasis property. It was suggested by some for the property to be turned into a much needed hospital for the Grand Bahama community or even a school.

The Royal Oasis has been closed since September 2004 and its owners, Harcourt had revealed that they were finalizing a deal with a major international casino and hotel operator to run the 427.5-acre resort property.

At last report, Harcourt was in discussions with Foxwood Development Company (FDC), operators of the world's largest casino, to do just that.

Back in April 2007, Foxwood said it was investigating the possibility of managing the Royal Oasis if Harcourt purchased the property.

"The company intends to make significant capital investment in order to improve the hotel and facilities at the Royal Oasis and create a high quality tourist destination.

"When reopened, the resort will bring major benefits to the local area through increased tourism and employment," a Harcourt release read.

Once extended and renovated, Harcourt noted that the resort would be home to a new hotel, casino, convention/meeting facilities, spa, fitness centre, food and beverage, retail, recreation and a host of other amenities. The golf courses will also be restored to their former glory.

The new owners estimated that up to 1,000 people would eventually be employed across the varied disciplines to construct, refurbish, manage and operate the resort.

However since that time nothing has been done.

Article SOURCE


Photo: Kirk Edison


Bookmark and Share


© Copyright 2010 by thebahamasweekly.com

Top of Page

Grand Bahama
Latest Headlines
Svitzer opens training centre in Grand Bahama
YMCA Freeport to build 4-court tennis centre
Freeport, Grand Bahama begins Sister City relationship with Concord North Carolina
Miss Grand Bahama holds evening gown / swimsuit competition
East Grand Bahama town meeting on the duty free concessions
Jimmy Smith is new West Grand Bahama Council chief
Bahamian Brewery and Beverage to undergo $2 million expansion in Grand Bahama
TEDxGrand Bahama to feature 4 young local professionals
Chervita Campbell now heads Freeport City Council
New National Parks in Grand Bahama to be Established by Government
Dr. Joel Wallach, founder of Youngevity International calls on the Ministry for Grand Bahama
U.S. Coast Guard and DEA Partner with Bahamian Law Enforcement Officers for Critical Maritime Procedures Training on Grand Bahama
Grand Bahama baby gets Pope Francis kiss
GB Shipyard Succeeding Worldwide
Dr. Todd Malan Named Chief Cell Therapy Officer at Okyanos Heart Institute
Grand Bahama Family, Wants Swift Justice from the Attorney General
Freeport, Grand Bahama promoted in Qatar
NID presents Aragonite Harvesting & Manufacturing project to Grand Bahama
GBPA Applauds Government Decision on Tax Roll Back
Town Meeting for East End Grand Bahama: Proposed Aragonite Harvesting and Manufacturing facility
Russian sailor Sergei Morozov returns to Grand Bahama
Grand Bahama Power Company announces organizational changes
Another G.B. Power / Emera boycott & demonstration planned in Grand Bahama for April 22nd
Former Grand Bahama police officer to open security business in Freeport
Annual Cruise Conference Opens New Opportunities
BORCO statement regarding BMPA and IMPA
WTO executive visits Grand Bahama Island
BORCO: Operations to Continue as Usual
Hector Picard in Grand Bahama to host Triathlon for The Beacon School
CEDA / GBPA ProNet Training Off to a Successful Start
Grand Bahama Minister excited about island's turn-around
Grand Bahama Customs department attend service‏ and hold parade for centennial
Ministry of Finance & IMF Make Courtesy Call on GBPA
Grand Bahama Early Intervention Resources Guide Released
Grand Bahama events lead up to Memories resort opening ceremony
Bahamas Marine Pilots Assoc. responds to FHC Letter from Godfrey Smith
Grand Bahama economy unquestionably on rebound, Minister Says
Okyanos Heart Institute Announces Completion Of Investment Funding
Grand Bahama Island Revitalized!
Building a Competitive SME Sector - GBPA Offers Training