Sandals Meets with Bahamas Officials on Future of Exuma Resort
By Brian Major
October 01, 2012 1:29 PM
Sandals Resorts has been meeting with Bahamas government officials to discuss the future of its Sandals Emerald Bay all-inclusive resort on Great Exuma, which it had converted from a Four Seasons property. The cost of operating the resort is “unsustainable,” according to a statement from Sandals officials, which is why it said it met with government officials to discuss a “prompt and creative approach to ensure sustainability.”
Sandals statement comes after Perry Christie, Bahamas’ prime minister, last week told the Nassau Guardian that Sandals Emerald Bay is “fighting to try to stop from losing an enormous amount of money” at the resort, which is “in danger of closing.” For its part, Sandals said it is facing “severe difficulty” in continuing its operation of Sandals Emerald Bay due to “the multitude of high costs associated with operating” the resort in the Bahamas’ Family Islands. “Some of these costs could never have been anticipated and make the Emerald Bay resort unlike any other we operate,” Sandals said.
Sandals added that it has made “enormous investments” in the 500-acre property, but has been challenged by “the highest utility costs we face as a hotel chain, limited airlift to the island, the continuing need to subsidize airlifts, high fuel and transportation costs” along with additional costs due to “the limited pool of trained professionals on the island.”
Despite those problems, Sandals executives said they are not seeking a “bailout” and instead have “put the situation squarely to the government and asked them to investigate ways in which they can work with us to bring some respite to the impossible economic environment we are facing in the Family Islands.” The statement adds that Sandals officials are “encouraged” by the government’s response and Sandals founder Butch Stewart has “every confidence and every expectation that this will be resolved.”
“We view the future of Sandals in the Bahamas with great enthusiasm [and] over the past 17 years, we have been able to do great things to benefit the economy and people of the Bahamas and the over 1400 full time employees at our resorts at Sandals Royal Bahamian, Fowl Cay and Sandals Emerald Bay,” Sandals said.