Construction of a new airport and the opening of the first phase of Harlequin Hotels & Resorts' 1,000-room Buccament Bay Beach Resort will change the face of the tourism product on St. Vincent, according to Glen Beache, tourism minister for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The $240 million Argyle Airport, slated to open in the spring of 2012 on the island's east coast, will replace the existing E.T. Joshua Airport.
"The problem always has been air access and getting travelers to St. Vincent easily and conveniently," Beache said. "This new airport now will make the destination a big force in the industry.
"This is a game-changer, which will finally allow us to attract direct flights from major North American and European gateways," he said.
The facility is designed to handle approximately 1.4 million passengers per year, nearly four times the capacity of the current airport.
Buccament Bay on St. Vincent's southwest coast is a residential and resort complex with accommodations from studio apartments and villas to four-bedroom plantation homes.
The resort, which had a soft opening in August, has 360 rooms available for the upcoming winter season; it will offer a total of 1,000 units when completed in April 2012.
The 98-acre resort will have 12 restaurants, including a Trader Vic's; tennis, cricket and soccer instruction; the Island Sanctuary Spa; a kids' club; and a megayacht marina with 24 slips.
A residential and real estate component offers beachfront suites and plantation homes for purchase. Beache said that 95% of the units have been sold, primarily to U.K. interests. The units are in the rental pool when not owner-occupied.