Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has described the Wyndham Sam Lord???s Castle Project as an indication of the restoration of confidence by the international community in Government???s economic development strategy.

Mr. Stuart expressed this view today at the official ground-breaking ceremony for the project at Sam Lord???s Castle Estate, St. Philip. Work is expected to start in 2016 and the keys to the property handed over in 2018.

He said that in this economic development strategy, priority was being given to income-generating and self-sustaining projects that had multiple benefits to various stakeholders, including local communities.

He continued: ???The macro-economic implications of the project cannot be understated. The hotel will employ in excess of 1,000 persons after completion, and is also expected to generate approximately 2,000 additional jobs in other sectors of the economy. Foreign exchange earnings to be made by the property are estimated at over US $70 million a year, with a direct contribution to the GDP of US $35 million.

???The people of St. Philip will gain social and economic benefits from the project. Residents of this parish will be able to earn income as entrepreneurs, service and produce providers and hotel employees. A number of farmers in the area will now have another market for their produce, and artistes and craftsmen will also reap a similar benefit.???

Mr. Stuart explained that the project had been designed to utilise the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art, and environmentally sustainable technologies, which would make it a prototype in the tourism sector.??He added that the hotel would specifically target summer business and assist Barbados in its quest to become a true year-round destination.

According to him, the commencement of the project would represent the beginning of a new era in Barbados??? cooperative relationship with the People???s Republic of China. ???This project will be the forerunner to even more projects between the two nations. It will spur cooperative efforts in other areas in and outside of the tourism sector,??? he stressed.

Last year, Government compulsorily acquired the land at Sam Lord???s for the development of a branded resort. And, Prime Minister Stuart pointed out that this project would greatly assist in restoring vibrancy to the surrounding communities of Long Bay and the Crane. He therefore urged the residents of St. Philip to embrace the project ???as their own???.

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