Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will formalize a partnership
with Mexico's ITM Group that will develop tourism destinations for use by a
variety of travel suppliers.
To be called Holistica Destinations Ltd., the Miami-based
venture will be owned 50% by each partner. A search is being conducted for a
Holistica's first project is a $275 million development in
Freeport, Bahamas. Earlier this year, Royal Caribbean and ITM originated the project, which is
currently under review by the Bahamian government. It is centered on the
regeneration of the Grand Lucayan resort, the largest in Grand Bahama, which
was badly damaged in Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and was acquired by the
The companies said the new venture will own and operate
destinations in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Kumamoto, Japan, in
addition to the Freeport project.
Other projects are under discussion.
Michael Bayley, president of Royal Caribbean International,
said the two firms have collaborated on an ad hoc basis for years and have
developed five or six projects together. He said the new firm intends to develop
destinations in a sustainable, collaborative way.
"We're all aware an emerging change is occurring, not
only in the Caribbean but around the world. We're seeing a shift in how people
view tourism, certainly volume tourism, and we've seen that there's really an
opportunity to think bigger about the future of cruise tourism as it relates to
the development of destinations," Bayley said.
He said Holistica will work with local communities and governments,
travelers, hotel companies and airlines. "It's really about trying to
think in a different way about sustainable development to create win-win
Bayley said the companies have complementary strengths, with
ITM strong in land-side development and Royal Caribbean providing coastal and
nautical expertise. He also said ITM provides the agility of private ownership,
while RCCL brings the attributes of a public, capital-intensive structure.
Royal Caribbean will keep its own port development group,
which is engaged in dozens of projects around the world, including its new
series of Private Day developments, which are exclusive to Royal Caribbean guests.
ITM Group CEO Mauricio Hamui said the joint venture will
emphasize ecological principles in its construction practices.
"A well-designed destination brings economic benefits
to communities and cultural enrichment to travelers, while creating the least
possible disruption to the human and natural environment," Hamui said. "There
is a way to do these projects inclusively, collaboratively, and sustainably --
and those are the characteristics this new partnership is meant to embody."