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Bimini Business Plan Likened to Super Wal-mart on Mayaguana

Photos Laine Doss
Photo Laine Doss

I don’t care how much money Genting has, the odds of making Resorts World Bimini successful stand about the same chance as making a Super Wal-Mart successful in Mayaguana.  The business model just doesn’t work.

The idea that because Bimini is 48 miles from South Florida it is cheap and easy to get to is obviously a misconception.  Because the combined US and Bahamian taxes on all tickets to the Bahamas are approximately $120.00 and the biggest cost of running an airline is the cost of the gate, ticketing, baggage handling and maintenance it is not financially viable for the 48 mile short haul flights.

Currently it costs more to fly to Bimini from South Florida than it does to fly to Las Vegas.

News Alert…South Florida has gambling.  From the Hard Rock to the Gulfstream Casino, South Florida has nine casinos many with hotels, shopping, top entertainment and gourmet restaurants.  If South Florida is not your thing hop on a commercial jet and in 35 minutes you will be in Nassau with the World Class Atlantis Resort and soon to open, the multi-billion dollar resort Baha Mar.  Now exactly why is a high roller going to spend three hours on a ferryboat or spend over $300.00 for a ticket on a prop plane to gamble in a casino the size you would find on a cruise ship?

The Discovery Cruise Ship as well as the SeaEscape Cruise Ship both offered day trips to Freeport as well as gambling cruises offshore and they both went broke, and this was before South Florida had gambling.

Now for the Resorts World Resort itself.  After spending over a quarter of a billion dollars on the resort, they are ranked 7th out of 8 hotels in Bimini on Trip Advisor.  They are listed below the Thirsty Turtle Inn, which is a 16-room hotel on a canal in South Bimini with zero amenities. From the TripAdvisor reviews, people are very unhappy with the Resorts World experience and it’s only likely to get worse. You can build a five star structure on Bimini but you can’t offer a five star experience.  If you take away the children, elderly and people with jobs in Bimini you might have a potential workforce of 200 potential local employees to be hired by Resorts World.  With the new 350-room hotel coming online it is going to require 500 to 600 people to operate this property.  Where are they coming from?  The idea that highly qualified chefs, servers, IT personnel, front desk managers, comptrollers, maintenance engineers, etc. is going to leave their good paying jobs and homes in Nassau or Freeport to come to work and live in Bimini is a joke.

Bimini will never be Nassau or South Beach. Bimini should always be what Nassau and South Beach is not.  A laid back Out Island with pristine white sand beaches, gin clear water, spectacular reefs with world class fishing and diving that has attracted affluent fishermen, boaters and divers to Bimini for generations.

Neal Watson, Sr.

Posted in Opinions

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