Royal Caribbean International eyes 2025 for opening of PI beach club project

Royal Caribbean International eyes 2025 for opening of PI beach club project
Royal Caribbean International’s first Royal Beach Club destination at Paradise Island is proposed to open in 2025.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS-Royal Caribbean International says that its beach club on Paradise Island is set to open in 2025, with the company having received government approval to proceed with the project.

Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said, “The Bahamas has been a phenomenal partner since the very start, when they became our first port of call more than 50 years ago.”

He added, “As we continue to bring millions of visitors to experience attractions throughout Nassau each year, The Royal Beach Club at Paradise Island is the next bold adventure in Royal Caribbean’s commitment to both increasing tourism in The Bahamas and delivering memorable vacations to our guests.”

The government announced on Tuesday that it granted approval to Royal Caribbean International (RCI) for its $100 million beach club project on Paradise Island. According to a statement from Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper, the completed project will offer guests beach and water sport activities, as well as Bahamian entertainment and retail experiences.

“The government is satisfied that it has addressed previous objections to the project by ensuring much greater Bahamian participation at all phases of the construction and in the ongoing operations. RCI will not have equity ownership in any ferry business from Prince George Wharf to the site. Several key activities at the site, including water sports, entertainment, tours, food & beverage, retail, security, environmental monitoring, and landscaping, will be reserved principally for Bahamian entrepreneurs and businesses,” said Cooper, who has ministerial responsibility for tourism, aviation, and investments.

Cooper further stated that the government will impose a Tourism Development Fund Levy of one percent of the annual gross revenue of the Royal Beach Club.

“Further, the Government intends to convert the crown land contribution into an equity stake of the project. That equity stake will be conveyed to the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).

Bahamians will also be invited to invest in the project and hold equity up to 49 percent, with the remainder being held by RCI.”

“This project will create hundreds of jobs, both during the construction and operational phases, further contributing meaningfully to the tourism rebound and economic growth that has been set in motion by the focused policy initiatives of this administration,” said Cooper.

He noted that at full capacity, the Beach Club can accommodate less than five percent of the cruise passenger arrivals each day.

“We anticipate this development will attract more tourists off the ships and will, therefore, have minimal adverse impact on existing businesses. This first-of-a-kind project for RCI will cover 17 acres – of which 13 acres represent privately held land and some four acres of crown land that were included in the lease to RCI by the former Administration. It is important to note that the land currently proposed under the project has not been subject to any dispute or litigation. Final approval of the project is subject to submission and approval of a standard Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and an Environmental Management Plan,” Cooper added.

Wesley Ferguson, the President of the Bahamas Taxicab Association, told Eyewitness News that he now welcomes the RCI project. “That is good news and in keeping with what I had suggested to the government. Although API drivers may not benefit directly, I am still satisfied that Bahamian entities will benefit from it in addition to new business entities.”