Chinese company's Bahamas resort delayed again

Updated: 2015-03-30 02:59

By Yang Yao(China Daily Latin America)

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Chinese company's Bahamas resort delayed again

The Baha Mar resort advertises itself as "the new Riviera". It occupies 1,000 acres along Nassau's Cable Beach. Courtesy to Baha Mar.

A Chinese company's plan to open the largest tourist resort in the Caribbean region has been delayed again, according to media reports.

Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po reported on Mar 20 that China State Construction Engineering's Bahamas branch and Chinese Import and Export Bank invested $2.6 billion to build a tourist resort in Bahamas.

However, the soft opening has been pushed back to May from the original target date of March 27, according to a report by Wall Street Journal, which quoted a statement provided by a Baha Mar spokesperson.

The developer, a group led by Bahamian businessman Sarkis Izmirlian, this week postponed for a second time the opening of Baha Mar, a 2,200-room hotel-and-casino, which was scheduled to receive guests on Friday. The opening has been pushed back to May, the report said.

"In setting our opening date for March 27, we relied in good faith on the representations of the resort's construction manager and lead contractor," the Baha Mar spokeswoman was quoted as saying in a statement, referring to China Construction America. "Subsequently, it has become clear that our contractor hasn't completed the work with an attention to detail consistent with Baha Mar standards of excellence."

A spokeswoman for China Construction America was also quoted: "While the Baha Mar project has presented many challenges, [China Construction America] has responded to those challenges professionally and effectively."

The China Construction of America spokesperson added that "laying blame upon CCA for its decision to delay the announced opening of this project are wholly inappropriate and inconsistent with the history of this project."

It was also reported that based on an economic impact analysis conducted by the project's developers, the mega-resort is expected to account for 12.8 percent of the Bahama's annual gross domestic product in its first full year of operation. During 20 years of operations, Baha Mar is expected to generate $25.3 billion in international visitor spending; and each year, more than $50 million is expected to be spent off site by Baha Mar guests, which will benefit other Bahamian businesses.

Delays mean those benefits will take even longer to realize, with at least one observer now saying the Bahamian government will miss its revenue target for the year, according to a report from Bahamas-based Tribune Media.

The report said that for now, China and Mr. Izmirlian are dealing with the ramifications caused by the delayed opening.

About 4,100 Chinese workers, who lived in barracks at the site, have helped build Baha Mar, the Miami Herald reported.

Last August, Baha Mar announced its December opening would be delayed until late this spring in March.

Baha Mar is on New Providence, the most populous island in the Bahamas. It is also home to the country's capital, Nassau. With it's completion, Baha Mar won't be the only mega-resort in the Bahamas. Further across the water from Baha Mar on Paradise Island sits Atlantis with tanks full of thousands of fish and other marine life, a mile-long water ride and a casino.

With 3,414 rooms, it is bigger than Baha Mar, but it was built in three distinct phases over 14 years, rather than all at once, like the new Cable Beach resort.

China and the Bahamas signed a visa waiver agreement last year, which allowed Chinese tourists to travel to the Bahamas and Bahamians to go to China for up to a month without getting a visa.