Barbados is expected to attract a larger share of the tourism market with the addition of the Wyndham brand.
This view was expressed today by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he delivered remarks at the signing ceremony for the Preferential Buyer Credit Loan Agreement by China Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank), for the Sam Lord???s Castle Hotel Project, at Government Headquarters.
The redevelopment of Sam Lord???s Castle will result in a five-star branded resort, operated by Wyndham, the largest hotel company in the world.
Mr. Stuart said after the signing: ???There is renewed interest in Barbados from a tourism perspective, and the Wyndham brand, sitting on the site of the former Sam Lord???s Castle, will add to the growing list of branded properties setting up business in Barbados.???
He explained that the project proposes a new Wyndham Grand Resort Hotel and timeshare residences. He added that the development would include the former Castle and Cliffside restaurant buildings; the construction of a new upscale resort hotel, comprising 350 guest accommodations; 100 vacation ownership units; a destination spa and a conference centre.
???There are many benefits to be gained from this new development. It has been targeted to cater to couples as well as to have a special appeal to families, as this group usually travels in the summer. This in itself will significantly help our tourism product in the slower summer months, as Barbados is striving to become a true year-round destination and not just a winter destination, as it is traditionally known,??? he stated.
According to the Prime Minister, Barbados currently has five internationally branded hotels, representing 805 rooms or 14 per cent of the total inventory. ???The addition of this brand will assist the island since international brands are known for their significant marketing pull,??? he remarked.
He pointed out that Barbados has not only been focusing on developing its ???hard??? product such as hotels, restaurants, attractions and other facilities, but also on the ???soft??? product, such as being a clean, friendly, safe and secure destination.
Ambassador of the People???s Republic of China to Barbados, Wang Ke, explained that China EXIM Bank would provide US$170 million to fund the rehabilitation of the Sam Lord???s Castle Hotel.
Mrs. Wang continued: ???With the loan agreement signed today, it is finally ready for the project to be put into operation. This makes China the only country that offers large scale preferential loans to finance infrastructure projects in Barbados which not only shows that China remains confident in Barbados??? tourism industry and its national economy, but also writes a new chapter in the China/Barbados partnership.???
She noted that there would be a ground-breaking ceremony for the rehabilitation of the hotel soon and expressed the view that the hotel would further enhance tourism???s contribution to this island???s economy.