By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THREE companies have been shortlisted in the Government’s search for an operator to manage Grand Lucayan’s casino, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe revealed yesterday, adding that an announcement on the new operator could come in two to three weeks.
Treasure Bay has operated the casino, which employs about 200 staff, since 2009. The Government has been seeking an operator to replace Treasure Bay, with as many as seven groups including Bahamian interests, and the Dominican Republic based Dream Group among those vying to operate the casino.
Mr Wilchcombe said yesterday: “We are down to three companies and we are going to make a final decision. I expect an announcement to be made in two to three weeks.”
Asked whether any of the two Bahamian companies reported to have been in the mix had been shortlisted Mr Wilchcombe said: “Bahamian companies are there and there are other recommendations Bahamian companies are making and we are looking at them all.” Mr Wilchcombe revealed previously that one of the two Bahamian companies was seeking to build their own casino in the nearby area.
Back in February the Government announced that the deal to renovate the Reef Village at the Grand Lucayan had been finalised. An agreement between the Government, Hutchinson Wampoa and Sunwing Travel Group was signed to convert the 400-room Reef Village into a five star Blue Diamond Resort. The development is expected to create around 250-300 construction jobs and as many as 1,000 permanent jobs.