By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Baha Mar, when opened, will add 2,200 “badly needed” hotel rooms according to Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe, noting that the development will provide a ‘tremendous spark’ in the tourism and travel industry.
Prime Minister Perry Christie announced Tuesday night that construction on the stalled $3.5 billion Baha Mar project, which will be funded by the China Export Import Bank, is expected to resume next month.
“I think the first thing that is going to happen is that it is going to set a spark off in the world; among the traveling public and within the tourism industry. You’re going to see that spark and that interest,” said Mr Wilchcombe.
“There will be many who will be seeking to get to The Bahamas so our airlift is going to be important. We have good airlift now but we will need more because we are talking about filling at least 2,200 hotel rooms. It’s going to add to our inventory which is badly needed. We are now at are 15,000 hotel rooms and the 2,200 will take us to 17,200. That is going to be good for us because overnight visitors help us grow our economy.
“We need to see a sustainable growth in our economy, between five and seven per cent. Tourism is a direct way to do it. By getting more room inventory and getting more heads in beds it is going to create a tremendous spark and excitement,” said Mr Wilchcombe.