By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Prime Minister has confirmed that the $3.5 billion Baha Mar project is set to undergo a phased opening in the 2017 second quarter involving 1,800 rooms, with 1,500 persons to be hired early in the New Year.
Addressing a Bahamas Hotel Tourism Association (BHTA) luncheon, Perry Christie said Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE), which several weeks ago revealed itself as the prospective purchaser of the stalled mega resort, will invest $200 million in “pre-opening festivities, development of family amenities, entertainment and offshore island facilities, and demolition and redevelopment of the former Crystal Palace Hotel”.
The Prime Minister added: “These operations will almost immediately begin to have a positive economic impact. My government has been working to ensure that there will be continuous employment opportunities in the tourism sector for our young people, starting with the hiring of 1,500 employees at Baha Mar early in the New Year.
“This is to facilitate the phased opening of 1,800 rooms at the conference and casino hotel, the casino, convention centre and golf course, and employment of up to 3,300 by August of 2017; 4,300 by December 2017.”
Mr Christie added that China Construction America (CCA), the general contractor, currently has 500 workers on site.
When fully operational, he added that Baha Mar will create 5,700 new direct jobs and an additional 4,160 indirect jobs.
Mr Christie said a high-level government delegation left for China last Thursday to meet with prospective CTFE and tour its casino operations.
The delegation includes Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson; Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe; Sir Baltron Bethel, senior advisor to the Prime Minister; and four officials from the Gaming Board.