SANDALS Resorts International (SRI) has been leading the rebound of the Caribbean economy through a combination of new investments and upgrades of properties region wide, resulting in an uptick in job creation and economic growth.
This is according to a company release on Thursday (August 6).
“The news could not have come at a better time, according to influential public and private sector leaders who have been enthusiastic in their testimony about the impact of the Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart-led Sandals Resorts,” the release read.
Barbados, Grenada and Antigua have all signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with SRI that feature a creative mix of tax incentives in exchange for the introduction or expansion of Sandals/Beaches resorts already bringing hundreds of jobs and pumping billions of dollars into the economies of the three eastern Caribbean islands.
Grenada’s Minister of Implementations, Alexandra Otway-Noel said that since the arrival of Sandals, they have not only seen jobs but also a significant increase in airlift and brand visibility.
She said that Sandals has prompted a tremendous upsurge in their tourism and has given the destination fresh life.
Grenada, which has the stylish 250-room Sandals LaSource Grenada, acknowledged the substantial contribution of Sandals to its four percent economic growth.
This has surprised even the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) with which the Eastern Caribbean Island has a voluntary austerity pact.
Otway-Noel added that Sandals has been pivotal in their achievement of that four percent growth and for that they were truly thankful.
CEO of the Antigua Tourism Authority, Colin James described the Sandals brand as a key player from the stand point of the power of its marketing machinery.
He said: “As a country, we have been able to piggy-back on the powerful marketing machinery that Sandals has developed.
“We have done a lot together and the partnership has been absolutely invaluable to our growing tourism industry.
“It keeps our occupancy rates up all year round which means that jobs are protected.
“Sandals is a true Caribbean company and its commitment to the Caribbean is demonstrated every day of life.
“We see it here in its contribution to taxes and its relationship with farmers and taxi drivers.
The hotel chain is very important to the economy of Antigua and Barbuda.
“Sandals will always be a Star in the Caribbean crown,” James said.
Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy from Barbados pointed to a creditable 20 percent increase in airlift and arrivals from the United States, achieved with the substantial assistance of Sandals through its marketing might.
“When an airline like Air Canada will tell you that they are giving you a bigger plane because of a Sandals then it speaks volumes of the importance of that brand to the destination.
“Any Caribbean country would consider it a plus to have a company like Sandals,” Sealy said.
Barbados used a package of generous concessions to lure the world renowned SRI to the island’s shores, in exchange for a $350 million investment in the country, principally through the acquisition and upgrade of two financially ailing resorts.