A partnership involving Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has
purchased the largest resort on Grand Bahama Island and will redevelop and expand
the cruise facilities in Freeport.
At a ceremony, the government’s Lucayan Renewal Holdings
signed a letter of intent with Royal Caribbean and Mexico’s ITM Group for the
sale of the Grand Lucayan Resort.
The joint venture will pursue redevelopment of the Grand
Lucayan resort into “a world-class destination, featuring water-based
family entertainment, with dining, gaming and entertainment options, and
five-star hotel accommodations,” the Office of the Prime Minister, Grand
Bahama said in a statement.
The proposal would also involve construction of new berths
at the cruise port, potentially doubling its capacity. In its statement, Grand
Bahama said the project would lead to an additional 2 million passengers
annually coming to Grand Bahama.
In the statement, Royal
Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan Resort has
tremendous potential to significantly increase tourism to Grand Bahama.
“Royal Caribbean is committed to working closely with
local partners to create a transformational experience for visitors. We thank
our partners at ITM and the government of the Bahamas for their support and
collaboration as we work towards this exciting opportunity,” Bayley said.
Phase one of the proposed development represents a projected
$195 million investment over a 24-month period. Approximately 2,000 jobs are
expected to be created in the first phase of the project.
The Royal Caribbean /ITM plan was picked from among 62
initial bids and 11 finalists.
ITM Group’s port projects include Costa Maya in Mexico, and
Roatan in Honduras.
Carnival Corp. has an agreement to develop a separate cruise
destination on Grand Bahama.
The government said the purchase price for the Grand Lucayan
was $65 million, the same sum it spent to acquire the resort last year through
Lucayan Renewal Holdings. The property was badly damaged in Hurricane Matthew
in 2016, leaving two-thirds of the resort closed.
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