BIMINI, Bahamas-- As Bimini Bay Resort gets
into its second phase of development, the resort is reporting a booming
business that is poised to add a world-class casino, aggressively market
its property and take advantage of coming infrastructural improvements
Alejandro Capo, CEO of RAV Bahamas, reported
that 13 of Phase Two's 131 residential homes have already been sold
- six months after the start of the expanded development. Construction
has already started on six of them and it is expected that construction
will begin on another six before the end of August. Meanwhile,
demand for properties like the upscale and environmentally sustainable
Bimini Bay homes continues to grow in "secondary markets"
as Bimini Bay has not yet launched its comprehensive marketing effort
in primary markets, Mr. Capo said.
"We're really going to go with the great
marketing effort for the second part of this year to see if we can get
the up northerners because right now our primary markets are South America
and South Florida," he said. "We really haven't hit any of
those northern markets like New York, New Jersey, the Metro area."
With a new casino on schedule to open in December,
Bimini Bay executives expect even greater focus to be on the property.
With Malaysia-based Genting Group as a partner, Mr. Capo believed that
Bimini Bay will become a world-renowned destination instead of a property
that is extremely popular mainly in South America and South Florida.
In the process, he said, employment on the island will increase. He
estimates that the casino will need to hire another 100 people in Bimini.
Indirectly, he said, the need for more casino regulators and other spin
off jobs will result in a total of 250 to 300 new jobs.
Meanwhile, even without the casino, Bimini Bay's
marina is doing brisk business. While most boating destinations have
seen reduced business over the past five years due to recession, Bimini
Bay has seen increased business, Mr. Capo reported.
"People stopped using their boats to go
further distances, and since we're so close to South Florida, all the
boats that have never come here before started coming because it was
cheaper than spending the amount of gas it was to get to the Eleutheras
and the Exumas," he said. "Our boating business is up 40,
50% from last year which is huge. Our prices are up another 20% from
what we use to book at and all of our major holidays have been sold
out months in advance. So we're really not seeing that downturn in our
Mr. Capo was pleased that plans for a new airport
terminal have been announced for Bimini. He said air transportation
to Bimini had been the biggest obstacle to the hotel portion of Bimini
Bay for the past 7 years. A new terminal with an extended runway will
allow the resort to attract guests from further points of origin than
South Florida in large numbers, Mr. Capo said.
Overall, he said, the future looks very bright
for Bimini Bay.