The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) is throwing its support behind the developers of the controversial Hyatt Centric Resort on Lower Bay Street, The City.
BHTA Chief Executive Officer Rudy Grant said today the hotel would significantly benefit the island’s tourism product.
While stating that the association would not engage in any public discussions on the pending American franchise property, Grant said it was important that the country “expand the brands that we have in Barbados”.
The proposed US$100 million 15-storey project, which has been mired in controversy since an agreement was signed in late July by developers Mark Maloney and James Edgehill and Hyatt representative Pat McCudden, was recently given the go ahead by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who has responsibility for the Town & Country Planning Department.
Social activist David Comissiong had objected on environmental grounds, calling for a comprehensive environmental impact assessment to include wide public participation, and has threatened legal action to stop the project.
Responding to questions this morning from Barbados TODAY during the question and answer segment of the BHTA’s first quarterly meeting at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Grant, who was appointed chief executive last December, said the association was looking forward to the new hotel.
The former Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport between 2003 and 2008 explained that the American brand hotel chain could be
used as a catalyst to further increase tourism numbers out of that market.
“You would observe that there has been a significant increase in tourism arrivals coming out of the United States in 2016 as well as in January of . We know as well that the visitors from the US like brand properties,” Grant said.
“The expectation is that the Hyatt will positively contribute in terms of the overall marketing efforts for Barbados as a tourism destination. It will provide additional rooms to facilitate the increasing number of visitors that we have. There has been a significant increase in airlift coming into Barbados particularly out of the United States, and therefore as a tourism association we look forward to the operation of Hyatt, and to welcome them as a partner and a member of the BHTA,” he added.