-- Although mega-resort developments dominate the hotel scene in
the Bahamas, the priority is to maintain "a balance between
necessary development for our people's economic prosperity and the
cautious restraint necessary to protect our fragile environment,"
said Vernice Walkine, director general of the Bahamas Ministry of
Walkine spoke at
the 29th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference on Grand Bahama Island
She said the fact
that Grand Bahama Island withstood hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in
2004 and Wilma in 2005 "is proof that the business of tourism is
"Grand Bahama has
survived, and investor confidence has never been higher," Walkine
that confidence is the 4,400-unit Ginn sur Mer resort community
under development on Grand Bahama's West End; the renovation and
24-suite expansion at Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour,
also in West End; and the marina expansion at Grand Bahama Yacht
Club in Port Lucaya, which will include 300 slips for
RockResorts back in the Caribbean
luxury resort company based in Broomfield, Colo., will manage the
$700 million, 870-acre Rum Cay Resort Marina on Rum Cay Island in
the Bahamas. The project's development company is Montana Holdings,
based in Nassau, Bahamas.
Rum Cay is 165
miles southeast of Nassau and about 40 miles east of Great Exuma,
between San Salvador Island and Long Island in the Out Islands of
the Bahamas. The island is ringed by a coral reef, offering
snorkeling and diving opportunities.
service will be offered from Nassau and Fort Lauderdale to Rum
of RockResorts as the management company puts it back in the
Caribbean, where the brand originally was created in 1956 by
Laurance Rockefeller with the development of Caneel Bay on St. John
in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Little Dix on Virgin Gorda in the
British Virgin Islands.
Rum Cay will be
the first international addition to RockResorts since it was
purchased by Vail Resorts in 2001.
current portfolio includes seven luxury properties in the U.S. Its
eighth U.S. resort will open in November 2007.
Rum Cay Resort
Marina is a three-phase development. The first phase, which began
this summer, includes an 80-slip marina; the Port Santa Maria
Marina Village, featuring shops, restaurants and sporting
facilities; and a variety of residential units.
The second phase
will feature the 100-room RockResorts hotel, the Avanyu spa, 80
villas, private membership clubs and additional
The third phase
will include additional private homes and other
Resort plans also
call for the addition of meetings space, restaurants, retail
outlets, a pool, a fitness center, a range of activities and the
expansion of the marina up to a total of 200 slips.
New Providence development
Providence, the 600-room, all-suite Cove Atlantis will open in
March, as will a $700 million water park with water slides and
Dolphin Cay, a dolphin lagoon and education center that will
shelter rescued dolphins left homeless after Hurricane
Also on New
Providence is Baha Mar, the $1.6 billion redevelopment of Cable
Beach in Nassau that includes a 3,550-room resort complex, which
"is pushing New Providence to new heights," according to
government's strategy of establishing anchor properties on major
islands is often misunderstood for being one-dimensional and
inappropriate for the Out Islands, the fact is that this strategy
has proven successful," she said.
She cited the
Four Seasons Resort on Exuma, which she described as "the catalyst
to economic development."
On Great Exuma,
the Emerald Bay Resort opened a casino and 72 Caribbean-style
villas last May.
Estates & Villas on Eleuthera will open the first phase of its
villa units next fall.
Bimini Bay Resort
& Casino on North Bimini recently opened 95 residential rentals
in a development project that will include a Conrad Hotel and
Along with the
benefits accrued from economic development come "new business
opportunities for Bahamians."
emphasized that the Bahamas' development plan is built on "a
foundation of social justice."
"We are not
seeking to make dollars and cents the only criteria for building
new tourist facilities," she said.
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].