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October 5, 2004

PM Welcomes Introduction of “Beaches” Family Resort Chain

            Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony has welcomed the announcement of the introduction of “Beaches”, a new line of hotel resorts about to be introduced to the island by the Sandals Group ahead of the upcoming Cricket World Cup in 2007.
            The Prime Minister on Tuesday morning said he welcomed the announcement by Sandals Resorts International (SRI), especially as it will create additional employment and enhance the island’s hotel plant ahead of the world’s most popular international cricket tournament.
            SRI, the parent group of the Sandals and Beaches chains, announced last week that it would construct a new US$80 million hotel on 35 acres of land the company recently acquired at Pigeon Point.
            The new hotel, which was originally carded for Vieux Fort, will be a five-star property with 300 rooms and luxury suites. It is expected to employ approximately 250 jobs during the construction phase and some 600 fulltime jobs when it commences operation.
            The Prime Minister said he particularly welcomed the news that in order to start the construction as soon as possible, SRI had fast-tracked the design and tender processes for the new resort, which will cater for singles and couples, as well as for families.
            Dr Anthony said he was also happy that the new hotel “will add to the available room plant on the island for Cricket World Cup 2007.”
            He said SRI’s introduction of the new line of resorts through investment in a fourth property on the island was “another manifestation of the confidence the group has in St. Lucia.”
            SRI Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart said here last week that a major factor behind his group’s decision to make yet another investment in St. Lucia was “the enlightened business climate” that has been evolving on the island.
            Mr Stewart said Sandals was proud to be an active player in St. Lucia’s economy and was enthusiastic about the introduction of its new line of family resorts to the island.
            Speaking of the new resort, the Sandals Chairman said it was intended to introduce “a new dimension in St. Lucia’s tourism product” and that “nothing will be spared to make it a showpiece for St. Lucia’s tourism industry.”
            The Jamaican entrepreneur said Sandals “will continue to do all in its power to unlock the island’s tourism potential and bring more prosperity to its nationals.
            The Sandals group has been operating in St. Lucia for eleven years. With three properties on the island, the group already employs nearly 2,000 workers and its contribution in direct revenue to the economy last year stood at $300 million.
            The three Sandals properties (Regency, Halcyon and Grande) already contribute over 800 rooms to the island’s total hotel stock and the new Beaches will take it over the 1,000 mark.
            SRI is the largest operator of luxury, ultra inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Its holdings include Sandals resorts, Beaches Resorts, and Royal Plantation Ocho Rios.
            Sandals Resorts has a total of 12 couples-only properties, with seven in Jamaica, three in St. Lucia, one in Antigua and one in Nassau.
            Beaches Resorts, which specialises in hosting families, has four hotels in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos Islands.
            Royal Plantation Ocho Rios is a one-of-a-kind, stylish and British- colonially-inspired 77-suite hideaway in Jamaica.
            Beaches St. Lucia will be the chain’s first such hotel in the Eastern Caribbean.