Mega resort unlikely to lure visitors from Bermuda
The impending opening of the largest resort in the Caribbean is not likely to be a threat to the Island’s tourism product, according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
The new mega resort, the Baha Mar, on Nassau, Bahamas, will boast art galleries, a nature reserve and more than 50 restaurants. It cost billions to build and has its own golf course along with more than 2,000 rooms.
Marketed as “the new Riviera”, there are four luxury hotels in the development, which includes the 1,000-room Baha Mar Casino and Hotel, the 700-room Grand Hyatt, the 300-room SLS LUX, and 200-room Rosewood hotel.
The website states: “Baha Mar is the largest single-phase luxury resort project in the history of the Caribbean and the most substantial in development in the Western Hemisphere. The $3.5 billion development is slated to begin previews March 2015, culminating with its grand opening on March 27, 2015.”
Gambling is a key piece of the business plan. The website adds: “Baha Mar Casino & Hotel will be home to over 100,000 square feet of gaming excitement. Featuring 1,500 slots and 150 table games, the casino floor will rival the best around the world.”
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) said while the organisation does see some Caribbean destinations as competitors, it does not view mega-build resorts in the Caribbean as competition. In fact, Bermuda could be seen as being “one big open-air resort”.
Glenn Jones, the director of public and stakeholder relations for the BTA, said: “We aren’t really competing with them. Bermuda has a very different product and we need to focus on differentiating ourselves from these huge new developments. For example, many resorts to our south have moved to mega-build, fully integrated resorts which limit the visitor’s fuller island and cultural experience. In Bermuda, we’re one big open-air resort. Guests are welcome everywhere. When they leave Bermuda they talk excitedly about meeting friendly Bermudians on a bus ride or grabbing a sandwich at Art Mel’s.
“This is part of the reason the Authority identifies Bermuda as a unique destination in the North Atlantic and not in the Caribbean. Our geography is a significant competitive advantage, especially when it’s added to our intertwined culture of Island soul and British charm.
“That’s not to say we don’t need new hotel product. We do. The BTA investment division is focused on that in tandem with the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport. We’re encouraged. We believe there are enough positive indicators in the market at the moment to get projects in the pipeline off the ground. Those projects are of the right scope and style for Bermuda.”