700 Bahamians also employed at Sandals Emerald Bay Property; Minister Cooper says majority of workers are local
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Some 900 Bahamians are back to work as Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island has reopened its doors for the first time since being shuttered in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its vicious toll on tourism.
According to Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper, who hailed the reopening as a “significant day for tourism”, the large majority of jobs are being occupied by Bahamians, although a small percentage of expatriate workers are among them.
“This is a significant day for tourism. It’s a significant day for Bahamian workers, business people, the Cable Beach strip [and] 900 employed here, which adds to the 700 that’s employed at the Emerald Bay (located in Exuma, The Bahamas),” Cooper said.
Joining him in lauding the positive impact the Royal Bahamian’s reopening will have, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis noted, “The tourist economies of the Caribbean were hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, and today is a landmark moment — another important signal that The Bahamas is open for business.”
He commended the fact that “many well-trained Bahamians will make up the full complement of 900 employees and Sandals Royal Bahamian will go on championing not only innovation, but the people and tourism product of this country”, and also took a moment to thank the “hardworking staff who have made this re-opening possible — the construction workers, the hospitality professionals and the managerial staff who have been so diligent”.
Hiring more Bahamians
Davis also lauded the hotelier’s dedication to innovation, adding that the tourism and hospitality industry must employ more Bahamians in the orange economy as the nation moves to diversify its tourism product.
“This is not to say that we just want to do things separate and apart from tourism, but we also want tourism to be more integrated into those more diverse aspects of the economy,” the prime minister said.
He added, “We want to encourage the industry to employ more of our Bahamian artists, buy more Bahamian products and have our Bahamian culture sit even more prominently at the heart of the visitor experience.
“But we cannot do it alone, and I am confident that Sandals is well-placed to partner with us in this effort.
“We need more entrepreneurs like them — bold, visionary and unashamedly celebrating the unique and multifaceted delights of the jewels of the Caribbean.”