The St. Vincent government has signed a contract to build a 92-room state-funded Holiday Inn Express and Suites, with Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves reiterating that the state has no interest in becoming a hotelier.
NH International (Caribbean) Limited has been awarded the contract to build the EC$52 million (US$19.2 million) hotel at Diamond, approximately 10 minutes from Argyle International Airport (AIA).
It will be funded in part by a grant from the CARICOM Development Fundfinancing from the National Insurance Fund and local funds, indicated the Minister of Finance.
– Advertising –
“The government is adding approximately 350 rooms to the hotel room base over the next two years,” Gonsalves said, noting that the state-funded Marriott hotel at Mt Wynne will have 250 rooms under the plans. government efforts to increase the number of hotel rooms. stock and build the tourism sector.
“The government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is not interested in being a hotelier, so we are not going to create a ministry of hotel operations. The Holiday Inn Express will be professionally run, not the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and we will remain open to what happens to the hotel next door once we add to stock of rooms in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. and, similarly, the Marriott will be a professionally managed establishment.
“So I just wanted to point out that our interest, from a political point of view, is to add room stock to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. We do some of this with our own resources as a government. We are doing part of this by attracting investment from Sandals, Royal Mill, Maya Suites, La Vue Hotel, PACE – the Black Sands Resorts and all the rest,” the finance minister said.
He said at the signing ceremony in Kingstown that the country “climbed this mountain of air access” with the opening of the AIA five years ago.
Gonsalves said that in the absence of an international airport, the hotels that sprang up were small, “essentially, that a flight by LIAT could fill them.”
But he said the country now needed to have ‘different layers and different levels of hotels’ and the government recognized ‘we need to have a stock of rooms close to the airport at a particular price point’.
He said a 92-room hotel less than 10 minutes from the airport is important because it would become the largest hotel in St. Vincent, but will soon be eclipsed with the completion of the Beaches Resort.
“So by the end of next year – in time for next year’s tourist season – this hotel will be built and we will continue with the complete transformation of the Diamond area,” Gonsalves said.
He noted that the Sir Vincent Beache Sports Stadium is also under construction in the area which also houses the Center of Excellence and Hotel Training Institute.
“And this private mansion will be one of the jewels of this transformation. Imagine that when you have athletics competitions, you have CARIFTA Games at the stadium. You know where the athletes will be staying. Imagine you have companies that will attend meetings with the government – large delegations – you know where they will stay.
“…Venezuelan flights arrive from Venezuela before going to Cuba and such, you know where some of these guests will be staying. So it is an important part of the renaissance of the diamond region,” he added.
Minister Gonsalves said the government is considering the Holiday Inn Express at Diamond to be a teaching hotel for students from the nearby institute.
“I am very, very happy that we have come to this. Thought we might have gotten here a bit sooner but again we all had COVID and volcano related challenges. I am very pleased that we have an entity building the hotel that has a proven track record of building resorts across the Caribbean, that has a proven track record of delivering projects on time and on budget, that has proven track record in building hotels in the Caribbean,” he said.