Barbados could see full employment in under four years once Government’s hotel investment plan is allowed to bear out, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said last evening.
Making his contribution to this week’s Budget debate, Sealy spoke about increasing the island’s accommodation room stock to some 10,000.
“That fact would facilitate not only a whole set of investment in Barbados, investment to the tune of US$540 million annually in terms of visitor receipts, but we should also be well underway by the time we get into Phase ll with the developments at Carlisle Bay and Needhams towards full employment,” he told the House of Assembly.
The Minister justified his projections by pointing to “all of the ancillary and vicarious operations that will benefit from seeing so many hotel rooms. The agriculturalists will benefit, manufacturers, service providers,” he said.
Stating that the drive was “towards a scenario where we see jobs”, he explained: “Ideally we would like to see full employment in Barbados. It is achievable if we stick with this investment plan that we have for tourism.
“By the year 2019-2020, we could have 10,000 hotel rooms and the unemployment level would be what the economists would call full employment, where it is basically negligible,” Sealy said.
He said the recent amendment to the Tourism Development Act to regard tourism as an export sector “has been driving investor confidence not only among foreign investors, but domestic investors as well”.
He spoke of the former Amaryllis hotel being now in reconstruction ahead of rebranding. He said the former Sandy Beach hotel was also under refurbishment and will become Sandy Bay when completed.
Regarding Sam Lords Castle, Sealy said, “we expect that as well to come on stream”.
He added that Government had completed negotiations with China and “we anticipate that those rooms will come back, [with] 450 luxury suites and amended activities. It will be managed by Wyndham.”
He also mentioned the proposed Belair Beach resort project at Foul Bay, St Philip that will provide an additional 309 rooms and will be completed by 2019.