Tourism minister backpedals on Baha Mar


The opening of Baha Mar’s newest property, Rosewood, coupled with the resort’s uptick in tourist arrivals, seems to have prompted a change hearts for tourism minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, when it comes to future success of the $3.4 billion property.

Before opening its doors in 2017, Baha Mar caught mountains of flack as many were doubtful that the resort – which comprises three international hotel brands – would be able to fill the 2, 300 rooms on property.

D’Aguilar, a member of the board of the original developer Sarkis Izmirlian, was among the naysayers who had little faith in the project.

But, the tourism minister sung a different tune Tuesday, as the resort opened its third property under a world renown best in class brand.

“Let’s say my position as changed,” D’Aguilar revealed.

While this is not the first time that D’Aguilar has pledged his support of the mega resort, his conversion is a far cry from what his initial views have been.

“When I offered those views, I was the director of the company that was run by the initial investor and I was supportive of those views. Now I am the minister of tourism and I am looking out for all Bahamians,” he said.

“Baha Mar has been built, concessions have been given and it’s now time, no matter what my feelings were, to get that hotel open and get Bahamians employed. That’s my primary focus and that’s the primary focus of this government – previous views notwithstanding.”

The opening of 239-room Rosewood, at Baha Mar, marks the 22nd property launch for the resort conglomerate.

Rosewood boasts of resorts in exotic countries including Mexico, Saudi Arabia, China, Paris and others.

The brand’s newest property now adds 239 rooms to Baha Mar’s 2,300 room package.

“It’s been a long journey and those 200 plus rooms that are coming on stream today is wonderful news. It’s a five-star product and so we are excited today that the final piece of the Baha Mar cake is falling into place,” he said.

The tourism minister said Baha Mar, against the odds, has upped the ante and its competitors are now restructuring to keep pace.

“It’s causing the market to refresh, to renovate, upgrade and offer different products. I speak often with Atlantis and I was fearful that at the introduction of Baha Mar, it would have a negative impact on Atlantis. But that has not been the case,” he shared.

Grand Hyatt, the first brand to launch at Baha Mar, opened in April 2017. SLS at Baha Mar launched in November 2017.