China Making Inroads in The Bahamas with Baha Mar Mega-Resort

Sunday 16th, February 2014 / 12:06 Published by

baha-marCement mixers from China and construction equipment rumble next to a premier strip of white sandy beach as thousands of Chinese workers labor to complete a $3.5 billion resort project at famed Cable Beach.

Bahamian officials hope that the Baha Mar project — four new hotels, 200,000 square feet of convention space, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and a casino with a 50-foot glass water wall and a Vegas-style show lake — will transform Bahamian tourism, putting it on the map as a world-class gaming destination.

Baha Mar developers plan to have the mega-resort open by mid-December, just in time for the winter tourism season.

Baha Mar has amassed some of the world’s most famous hospitality brands to operate its hotels. The centerpiece, the 1,000-room Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, will be managed by Global Gaming Asset Management, which has developed gambling resorts from Las Vegas to Manila.

There also will be a 750-room Grand Hyatt, a 300-room Mondrian Hotel and a 200-room Rosewood Hotel. The Spanish hotel operator Meliá recently took over operations of the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort at Cable Beach and is running it as a Meliá hotel. When renovation of the 694-room property is completed, it too will become part of the Baha Mar brand, operating as the all-inclusive Meliá at Baha Mar.

But Baha Mar is also noteworthy because of the extensive Chinese involvement in the high-profile project. Not only is the Export-Import Bank of China providing the bulk of the financing, China State Construction Engineering Corp. is the general contractor.

“It’s called transformation,” says Robert Sands, a senior vice president for Baha Mar Ltd. Developer Sarkis Izmirlian, chairman and chief executive of Baha Mar, “didn’t just want hotels on the beach; he wanted a destination,” he said.

“A lot of focus will be on the gaming aspect,” Sands said.

But the upscale resort, the largest tourism project under development in the Western Hemisphere, is something of a gamble.

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1 Comments on “China Making Inroads in The Bahamas with Baha Mar Mega-Resort

  • The Chinese are geniuses, they are going to hire Bahamians at first, relying on their reputations. Once they are caught stealing, lying, or even being rude to their clientele, they will immediately be replaced. Once a foreigner takes over that position, it is very unlikely that a Bahamian will ever get it back… brilliance!

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