Sandals Resorts International said it is planning to close the
Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort indefinitely in 2021 because the Caribbean island's
government raised taxes on the property after declaring it would not.
Sandals earlier this week was vague about the dispute, only saying
there were "critical and long-standing issues" impacting operations
at the resort. As a result, Sandals said it would close the Beaches resort three
times over the next two years, with the final closure in January 2021 being indefinite.
Sandals said the issue dates to 2013, when Turks and Caicos' Minister of Finance
gave the Beaches resort a written declaration that despite an amended hotel
taxation ordinance, the resort's current tax base would remain "untouched."
"Despite these assurances, over four years later,
without warning, Beaches received an increased tax assessment and an
extraordinary penalty of 10% per month, despite the legal and binding documentation
to the contrary," Sandals stated. "Accordingly, each day the hotel
remains open the deficit increases. After extensive analysis, it has become
clear that the only way the Company can stop the increasing deficit is to close
and therefore cease the generation of additional taxes on which penalties can
"We are working through this issue and we are heartened
by the Premier's statement today," said Unique Vacations senior vice
president of sales Gary Sadler, referring to a statement that Turks and Caicos'
premier made in a local newspaper that it was trying to rectify the issue.
"It is not our desire to close the resort. Resolution is most important."
The Ministry of Tourism of Turks & Caicos declined to
comment on the Beaches situation.
The Beaches is the largest resort on the Turks and Caicos island
of Providenciales with 758 rooms -- about 15% of the island's 5,000 total
Gay Nagle Myers contributed to this report.