Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has said he is confident there is “renewed interest” in Barbados’ tourism product, and he is forecasting a number of benefits for the island with the construction of the highly-anticipated Wyndham hotel at the Sam Lord’s Castle site in St Philip.
The ground-breaking ceremony for that project is expected to take place on Monday.
The project will be funded by a US $170 million loan from the Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) of China.
Speaking at a signing ceremony for the Sam Lord’s Castle Redevelopment Loan yesterday, Stuart said, “generally there is renewed interest in Barbados from a tourism perspective, and the Wyndham brand, sitting on the site of the former Sam Lord’s Castle, will add to the growing list of branded properties setting up business in Barbados”.
Stuart added that the new hotel would help the country in its efforts to become a year round tourist destination rather than a winter destination “as it is traditionally known”.
“Barbados currently has five internationally branded hotels representing 805 rooms or 14 per cent of the total inventory. The addition of this brand will assist the island since international brands are known for their significant marketing pull,” he said.
The Prime Minister also anticipated increased business activity, noting that Barbados would also be able to focus on the health and wellness segment of the tourism market.
“The concept of health and wellness has become a significant mover of travellers across the globe and has also become one of Barbados’ major tourism product offerings,” he said.
“The meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) market will also benefit from the conference centre which will be part of the project, as it will augment existing conference facilities on the island,” he added.
Stuart also stated that the tourism industry would realise benefits in terms of employment “when the project is being established as well as in its operational phase”.
He also pointed to benefits for the country through the anticipated participation of the resort in community related activities.
“Overall the facilities and amenities to be provided by the addition of the Wyndham brand to our tourism landscape will greatly assist Barbados in attracting a larger share of the tourism market,” Stuart said. (MM)