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‘Long’ way to go yet


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THE chairman of an international hotel chain says that while Bridgetown may be the capital of the Caribbean, Barbados still has some way to go in terms of affordability and quality of service.
Chairman of Harlequin Hotel & Resorts, Dave Ames, said his organisation was delighted to choose Barbados as its newest business venture, but there was no doubt it was cheaper for tourists to vacation in the Far East.
“I have been in the Caribbean for about four years . . . we are building in Barbados, St Vincent, St Lucia and the Dominican Republic, and I am also looking at other islands to develop and we needed a central heart for our operation . . . and we believe that Barbados has the support and stability that we can build our business around.
“Everything will be based here. Barbados is the country, there is no question about that. I think that where Barbados is losing out is the standard and quality of some of the hotels.
“Investment in hotels is not what it could be and when you compare with places like Dubai and the Far East, you will find that you can go on holiday cheaper over there.
“The problem is, you are not getting the quality of service here as compared to those places.”
The Harlequin group has bought over 70 acres at Merricks, St Philip, with a view to building a five-star resort with soccer fields and tennis courts using Liverpool football club and Pat Cash as star appeal and partners.
Ames said they could spend as much as US$400 million (BDS$800 million) in establishing a facility that will be built in three phases, with the first, which will comprise 400 units, expected to be finished by 2012.
When completed, the facility will house six tennis courts at the Pat Cash Tennis Academy and two soccer fields under the banner of English football giants Liverpool.
“Barbados is a great place to be because it has so much potential. It is so famous and well known and as far as the English people are concerned, iif is the most established island in the Caribbean.
“When we start talking to our investors about investing in the Caribbean, I would say that about 75 per cent go for Barbados through choice, so it is quite clear to us that the potential for going forward and the centre of what we are going to be doing is Barbados.”