Sandals investment would bring jobs, tourism development

Tobago’s efforts to attract investors seems to be bearing fruit, as Tobago House of Assembly officials met with hotel mogul Gordon “Butch” Stewart to discuss the possibility of expanding the Sandals chain to the island.

Stewart, the founder and chairman of the Sandals and Beaches all-inclusive chain of resorts, visited Tobago on Tuesday (January 26, 2015), where he met with Chief Secretary Orville London, Secretary for Tourism and Transportation Tracy Davidson-Celestine, Minister of Tourism Shamfa Cudjoe, and other senior tourism officials.

London said an investment by Stewart would “invariably bring additional heads to beds.”

“There seems to be some interest, but these are early days yet, and from our perspective, we will follow up to have an idea of where this goes,” the Chief Secretary said at yesterday’s (January 27) post Executive Council media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall . “I’m certain he’ll be back to further investigate as to whether there is a match between what he wants and what we have.”

London indicated the THA would become “even more aggressive as we sell Tobago to potential investors.”

During his visit, Stewart and the local officials took a seven-hour exploratory tour of the island.

They visited several locations to look at various properties, including Englishman’s Bay, the Mt. Irving Bay Hotel, and the Golden Grove Estate.

Davidson-Celestine said the popular Sandals chain would bring many benefits to Tobago as an investment to the island would foster further development of Tobago’s tourism product and create hundreds of job opportunities for the island’s citizens.

“Mr. Stewart can be considered the leading hotel magnate in the region,” London said.

Sandals resorts are located at several Caribbean destinations, including Jamaica, Turks and Caicos and St. Lucia. According to Davidson-Celestine, a Sandals and Beaches property has had a significant impact on islands invested in, including Grenada, through job creation, as well as increased flights to the destinations.

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