Egyptian Billionaire Naguib Sawairis has given a commitment to help increase the hotel room stock on the island in order to get more airlines to travel to Grenada.
The investor made the disclosure at the recent sod-turning ceremony to launch the Silver Sands Hotel on Grand Anse beach for which construction is expected to begin in April.
Sawairis believes that there are not enough rooms on the island to encourage airlines and people to visit the Spice Isle.
The Egyptian announced his intention to invest in the island’s hotel industry shortly after the February 2013 general elections which saw the return to power of Dr. Keith Mitchell and his New National Party (NNP).
It was hinted then that Sawairis had plans to build three 5-star hotels along the world famous Grand Anse beach.
Without giving specifics, the wealthy Egyptian said that he had every intention of starting another project as soon as construction got underway on the Silver Sands.
“Once the construction has started in March or April… we will move to the next project and the third project…”, he added.
Sawairis believes that Grenada has not even started to scratch the surface in terms of meeting its full potential of hotel room stock in the move to become a world class tourist destination.
“We have a challenge to increase the number of rooms in Grenada… we can convince the airline that they need to have more planes, so they tell you how can we have more planes and you don’t have enough hotel rooms”, he said.
“…What you need is people who are believers and lovers of this nation and understand the value of this place (and) then they (airlines) would come,” he added.
The Egyptian indicated that he had a plan to purchase some of the abandoned hotel properties on the island in an effort to add more rooms to the country.
This is in reference to a number of small properties on the island that once formed the Garden Group of Hotels and crashed as a deal struck with a former Mitchell-led government fell through with the promised investment funds not materialising.
The Egyptian pointed out that the abandoned hotel projects are standing there like “skeletons” and wanted to do something about them.
He said he was looking at “a special deal” and “a special price” to acquire these abandoned properties in order to “unlock all of these structures that you have laying around” so that they can be put “back to life”.
“…It has to be a one time of a deal even if we have to get all the banks together or even individually…”, he added.
In recent years, tourism has emerged as the lead sector for the island and the main earner of foreign exchange.