NASSAU, Bahamas -- Tourism developments in the Bahamas have moved
at a fast pace in recent weeks.
A recap of
tourism-related news follows:Sun International took the wraps off its $480 million Royal
Towers project at Atlantis, Paradise Island. The massive,
three-day, grand opening party drew luminaries such as Michael
Jackson. With 1,202 rooms, the property is the largest in the
Caribbean.The 117-room Holiday Inn Junkanoo Beach opened with far less
fanfare in downtown Nassau. The hotel is on the site of the former
-- and far less fabulous -- Atlantis hotel, which closed in
1993.Aviation figures were looking up as the Bahamas Ministry of
Tourism projected 41,000 weekly scheduled and charter air seats to
Nassau/ Paradise Island by March, a 25% increase compared with 1998
The uptick in air seats comes at a time when the room count is
expected to increase by 26%. In March, the number of rooms in
Nassau/Paradise Island will reach 8,000, according to ministry
The Bahamas will receive more seats from British Airways, which
will substitute 777 aircraft instead of DC-10s on its London-Nassau
route, starting March 19.The Bahamas government first approved and then nixed a plan by
Lonrho PLC to sell the Princess Towers, Country Club and Casino on
Grand Bahama Island.
Although the government cited concerns about the schedule for
renovations, a tourism ministry spokesman said the government wants
to complete the deal in order to speed the upgrade of hotel
facilities on Grand Bahama Island.
Those plans called for the 400-unit Princess Towers to close for
a nine-month, $45 million renovation. The relaunched property was
to open as a four-star resort managed by an international chain.
Phase two of the project called for the renovation of the 565-room
country club and the casino, which were to remain open during the
Hotel and casino facilities are to remain open as talks continue
between the government and the proposed buyers, a venture owned by
Harvard Private Capital and Regent/ French Quarter of Israel.
Industry sources expect a new and improved version of the plan to
emerge in the near future.The Grand Bahama Beach Hotel here shut down to speed
construction of the Lucayan resort, which opens in its place in
April. Guests booked through March were offered alternative
lodgings at Princess Hotels, Port Lucaya Resort & Yacht Club
and Pelican Bay.
Agents with tour operator bookings were instructed to contact
them directly; clients were not penalized for moves or