NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Grand Bahama’s tourism sector rebound will have ‘little chance’ to gain speed without a functional airport and a reopened Grand Lucayan Resort, a well-known industry stakeholder has warned.
Magnus Alnebeck, general manager of the Pelican Bay Resort, said: “There is no overnight tourism in Grand Bahama except for our once a week Sunwing charter from Canada, that is providing well for Viva Fortuna, and has enabled them to stay open.
“We also have cruise ship passengers for day visits. Pelican Bay is doing ok with our usual corporate/business and commercial segment.”
He continued: “We need a functional airport, repositioned/reopened Grand Lucayan, potable water, and a functioning hospital. Without that, the rebuild of tourism will have little chance to gain speed. Functional streetlights and a serious clean up would also help tremendously.”
Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar has previously accused airport operator Hutchison Whampoa of not demonstrating an effort to rebuild the Grand Bahama International Airport to its post-Dorian state.
D’Aguilar revealed that the government now in negotiations to purchase the facility.
The government has been negotiations with Holistica – a joint venture company formed by Royal Caribbean International and ITM Group – for several months on the sale of Grand Lucayan resort complex.
Royal Caribbean and ITM are also expected to develop the harbor in Freeport into a destination product centered around water-based adventure theme parks.
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew that caused parts of the Grand Lucayan to be shut down and the property to be subsequently taken over by the government in order to protect jobs and ensure the sale of the property.