Some 1,000 new hotel rooms will open in St. Vincent “in very, very short order”, Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves says.
He told the signing ceremony for a US$50 million loan to build hotels in St. Vincent that the new rooms “effectively, double, the hotel stock on mainland St. Vincent but add another level, sort of another star”.
The 1,000 rooms include the 392 that his government is building in two hotels at Mt Wynne and Diamond and 400 by private investors at Black Sands resort at Mt Wynne-Peter’s Hope.
A further 200 rooms are expected to re-open at Buccament Bay Resort, which has been shuttered since December 2016, and which new investors hope to reopen by December 2019.
The finance minister said other potential hoteliers have shared with the government, designs for an additional 50-plus room in that same southern cone of St. Vincent.
“If you had a lot of 3-star hotels operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, now you are going to have four- and five-star hotels operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, whereas those types of hotels, traditional in our context, existed as small boutique hotels in the Grenadines.”
He said that once there are 1,000 additional rooms of hotel stock on St, Vincent, the island will have the critical mass of rooms to attract more frequent flights from the major carriers in North America, Latin America, and the United Kingdom.
Gonsalves said that one of the impediments the government faces in getting flights from the United Kingdom is that there are not enough hotel rooms.
“The American Airlines that flies from Miami to St. Vincent and the Grenadines seats 127 people. The Virgin Airlines or the British Airlines that flies from England seats 350 people. And so, a plane of that size coming with any degree of regularity requires more rooms.”
He said that the UK carriers are eager to come to SVG but are constrained by the room stock.
“And we have to increase our room stock to increase our plane arrivals. So, it is a critical part of making the Argyle International Airport work,” Gonsalves said.