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Gov't 'Still Assessing' Baha Mar Obligation

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The Minnis administration was yesterday said to still be "assessing" the Government's commitments to Baha Mar and other resorts, a Cabinet Minister saying he was "amazed" at the multi-million dollar investment incentives granted to foreign developers.

K P Turnquest, minister of finance, was responding to queries over a line item in the 2017-2018 Budget entitled 'Equity Contribution - Baha Mar', which appears to commit the Government and taxpayers to paying $9 million per annum to the Cable Beach development over the next three Budget years.

"We are still assessing the commitment to Baha Mar as well as the commitment to some of these other properties and other tourism stakeholders," he replied. "It's amazing the level of dollars that we are actually paying to assist in marketing these properties.

"We need to have a strategic look at what we are investing in this industry to ensure that it is still relevant to what we are doing, and it is sustainable in the long term."

Tribune Business recently reported that Baha Mar is targeting just a 25 per cent average occupancy rate for 2017.

Dionisio D'Aguilar, the minister of tourism, confirmed that the $4.2 billion project will undergo a gradual, phased opening to allow for both its construction completion and ongoing staff training to perfect the guest experience.

"Their plans are to continue to very slowly open up the property," he told Tribune Business of the new owners.

"Their goal was 25 per cent occupancy for the year, and then in the first quarter of next year to begin to complete the opening of the fourth property, the Rosewood.

"The marketing campaign will be rolled out as rooms come on stream.

"They believe that's the best way to do it."

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