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Holistica advances $300m Grand Bahama development

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

Holistica Destinations' $300m development in Freeport, Grand Bahama, moved forward with a heads of agreement signed today with the Bahamas government.

Opening is set for winter 2022.

Two locations

Holistica — a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Mexico's ITM Group — has a plan spanning two locations. These entail the enhancement and expansion of the port, to be called Harbour Village, and the Lucaya Property, situated at the current Grand Lucayan resort.

The first phase of the Lucaya Property is envisioned as a world-class beachfront destination with a 526-room hotel, shopping village, spa/wellness center and water-based family entertainment. Elements include a massive water and adventure theme park, a 40,000-square-foot convention center, adventure activities such as zip lines and off-roading, restaurants and bars, entertainment and nightlife.

Cruise expansion

Harbour Village will be located nine miles west of the Lucaya Property, at the cruise terminal in Freeport Harbor. There, visitors will have multiple shopping and dining venues, beach areas, a shore excursions hub and more.

'With our partnership in Holistica Destinations, we believe that this new development will create a world-class experience for guests and deliver renewed hope for the rebirth of Grand Bahama,' said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. He thanked the Bahamas government for its 'continued partnership and shared vision to create a premier attraction which will be a catalyst for economic growth in the destination.'

Jobs and opportunities for residents

For his part, Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis thanked Holistica for investing in Grand Bahama. This project will result in employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for its residents, he said.

Job training, community investment and sustainable construction practices are part of the agreement.

World's largest cruise ships

According to Mauricio Hamui of ITM Group, the harbor's capacity will be vastly expanded. 'By the time we are finished in the winter of 2022, the port will be ready to host the largest cruise ships in the world,' he said.

With the participation of Bahamian companies, development plans for Freeport also envision a multimodal transportation hub with infrastructure for water ferries and ground transportation including buses, vans and jeeps. Holistica said it will work closely with local business owners and entrepreneurs as partners with opportunities at both Harbour Village and the Lucaya Property as well as additional shore excursions in Grand Bahama.

Holistica CEO Robert Shamosh referred to a 'long-term relationship with the community and the government of the Bahamas, essentially a marriage where we will grow together in prosperity welcoming millions of visitors to the destination for years to come.'

Economic impact

A May 2019 study by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, indicated that over a 22-year timeline, there would be a B$9.1bn increase in Bahamian GDP as a result of this project. Additionally, the project anticipates creating 3,000 direct jobs during peak construction and operation periods. Once the development is completed, Grand Bahama is projected to welcome more than 2m travelers annually.

Anne Kalosh | Mar 02, 2020

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