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Sandal Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.
Sandal Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.
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Sandals Resort International opened its Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay on Wednesday, with its Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart saying that the “Sandals effect” will transform tourism in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

Stewart said that United Airlines and JetBlue will begin flying to St. Vincent this year even as American Airlines and Virgin will increase their service to the destination. 

The executive spoke of the “Sandals effect” as he addressed the wider hospitality sector on the impact of Sandals on a destination.

“… the Sandals effect is a confluence of things that happen when Sandals comes to town,” Steward explained, adding that he has yet to see it not happen in his 25 years in the company. 

“First and foremost, we market the destination,” he said, adding that for Sandals, the destination includes “very much the Grenadines”.

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“And the Grenadines is an essential part of the tourism tapestry, the ecosystem, the landscape of what makes up this incredible archipelago, meaning directly and indirectly for linkages, tour providers, taxi operators, restaurateurs, musicians, farmers, fishers, entrepreneurs, hardware store operators, the entire ecosystem and connectivity, we plan to light on fire and make sure that the entire world knows,” Stewart said.

Adams Steward Sandals opening
Adam Stewart, executive chairman, Sandals Resorts International speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Sandals Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

He said that this year, the Sandals brand will produce 10 billion media impressions for the brand SVG in the international marketplace.

“You will see your magnificent island on the biggest networks on national television and across the internet,” Stewart told the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“Our team will drive demand in the international marketplace,” he said, adding that that partnership means that American Airlines, which used to fly to St. Vincent two days per week, will increase it to four days in April and six days as of November.

“Even better than that … American Airlines called us two days ago to say that they will be flying to St Vincent and the Grenadines daily by the end of this year,” Stewart said. 

“JetBlue will fly to this destination for the first time. United Airlines will fly to this destination for the first time. Air Canada is going to double what they’re doing and that’s just the beginning. Virgin has already increased airlift and all tides will rise with the Sandals effect.”

Sandals opening
The ribbon cutting at at Sandals Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

Stewart said the increased airlift would mean more convenience for Vincentian travellers.

“It will allow visitors to access this magnificent untouched archipelago more easily than they have ever done before. We will continue the partnership and we will grow it until you need to double the size of your brand-new airport. That is our goal,” Stewart said, referring to Argyle International Airport, which opened in 2017.

The government has said that Sandals invested US$200 million in the resort.

Wednesday’s ceremony came even as some sections of the resort, including the overwater villas, which some industry insiders regard as a major distinguishing feature of the resort, remain incomplete.

Among the guest were Governor General Dame Susan Dougan, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his Cabinet, and Opposition Leader Godwin Friday.

Friday at Sandals opening
Opposition Leader Godwin Friday interacts with the first paying guest of Sandals Resort in SVG at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Sandals Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

‘more than 300 travel advisors’ coming in May

Stewart told the ceremony that in May, Sandals will bring “the largest contingent of international travel advisors ever to this country — more than 300 travel advisors from around the world.

“These are the best of the best. These are the people that sell everyone around us, but most of them have never had the great opportunity to experience the love and the magic of what takes place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We’re going to blow them away. We’re going to blow them away with the culture; we’re gonna blow them away with the design of what we’ve created here and we are going to take them right down into the Grenadines and show them Mayreau, Canouan, Union Island — each and every one them so that they go back and start telling their customers that there is a gem, a gem in the Caribbean, that we are going to produce and funnel people in here.”

He said that the visitors that Sandals’ marketing efforts will attract to SVG will not all stay at the resort.

“And we love that. Different strokes for different folks. There are boutiques down in Canouan that I visited two weekends ago. I hope they get a lot of business; there are boutiques here and villas on St. Vincent, I hope they get a lot of business. I hope everyone’s rates rise. I hope people employ more.

“I hope everyone pulls up their socks and trains to show that what is of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is absolutely and completely world-class,” Steward said during a ceremony in which he acknowledged the resort’s first paying customers, a man and a woman from Trinidad.

“… I couldn’t be more proud to have other Caribbean nationals being our first-ever paying check-in customers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

The resort opened temporarily in late February to host the 8th Summit of the Community of States of Latin America and the Caribbean on March 1, before closing again as construction continued ahead of the March 27 official opening.

Sandals unfnished
The over-water villas were incomplete even as the ribbon cutting ceremony of Sandals Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay was held on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

Gov’t gave Sandals ‘red carpet service at every level’

Steward praised the government’s support for the resort, saying, “It has been red carpet service at every level.

“From the get-go to today, every challenge that we faced was solved literally instantaneously. And that inspired us to go beyond our original commitment,” Stewart said.  

“It inspired us to do our best work yet that we have ever gone in the Sandals chain. The more we came here is the more we fell in love.”

Meanwhile, Gonsalves spoke of the opportunities that the resort presents to the country’s residents.

“I want to say to everyone in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there are opportunities here at Sandals for you; or employment, for providing goods and services. But have yourself properly trained;  have the discipline, have good products,” he said.

“I am so happy that this has come to fruition,” the prime minister said, noting that Stewart had said that with the expected increase in passenger arrivals, the government would have to expand the airport terminal building.

“And if there was the master plan, which anticipated that and that master plan is being reviewed what is necessary to be done, we will do,” Gonsalves said.

“And what is music to my ears is that in helping to build the demand that they will be putting on Sandals charters out of New York twice a week. That’s from May, which is another 30-odd days,” the prime minister said.

Gonsalves at Sandals opening
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Sandals Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

He further said that his understanding is that America Airlines will fly to SVG aircraft that carry 20 or 25 seats more than they currently use.

“So, the taxi man at the airport will have in addition to people who’re coming to Sandals where … Sandals will make the arrangements, but people who are going to … all of the various hotels. Because I expect that all the metaphoric boats will rise,” the prime minister said.

He further noted the taxes that the resort is expected to generate, telling the director general of finance and planning “you will get into the Treasury more 11%. That is what it is about. I am so pleased that we are at this point,” Gonsalves said.

The prime minister said his understanding is that the event was “the soft opening” and he understand that “the big opening” is in August or September.

5 replies on “As resort opens, Sandals executive promises to transform tourism in SVG”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Putting all the hyperbole from Stewart aside, congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to complete a project that could never make us rich if only because, like so many resorts around the world, it will see most of its profits sent to Jamaica, the home of the owner, and to the many other overseas destinations servicing the resort but it will nevertheless directly and indirectly help raise the level of living of thousands of Vincentians.

    For that we must remain grateful for the vision and hard work of our mighty Comrade who deserves re-election on those grounds alone.

  2. C.Ben-David you are such a hippocrite and a backbiter that no one in their sane mind will take you seriously. Even in your home town of Layou, the mentioned of your name , it evokes scorn . I believe that is why you hide behind your alias of the so called Jew. Are you serious with your rationale that the Ulp should be re-elected on the basis of Sandal alone? Your reasoning is akin to someone in which their elevator don’t go all the way up but get stuck some where in between. Even your spouse is more of a critical thinker. Find something useful to do in retirement old man.

  3. Congratulations for the great progress in saint vincent. That to all who show their appreciation in bringing this project to daint vincent. The people need the gelp.

  4. @C.Ben-David, you need to look at things at a granular level at times. The largest expense on Sandals SVG’s income statement could potentially be salaries. Who do you think are the recipients of a good portion of that? Vincentians. In addition, there will be the spin-off effect of having an establishment like Sandals. I can assure you that the level of living (as you put it) for Vincentians attached to Sandals will see an upward trajectory.

  5. calliaquaman says:

    Do Governments Favor Foreign Firms over Domestic Ones?

    Read more about article: A business journal from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
    “There is strong and consistent evidence that there are substantial regulatory advantages to being a foreign firm operating in these 81 economies as compared with an average domestically-owned firm,” Huang writes in his paper. A second finding is that the regulatory advantages enjoyed by foreign firms are only present when compared to politically powerless domestic firms.

    Foreign privilege also appears to be greater in more corrupt countries, although it is not absent in countries with strong institutions, said Huang. He cited evidence from his research using institutional indicators developed for the World Bank Governance Project.

    Huang evaluated 38 countries making up the bottom 25th percentile across four variables: control of corruption, government effectiveness, voice and accountability and the rule of law. On average, across all four measures, foreign firms reported fewer constraints than domestic companies.

    Let educate our self-a little more and stop be exploited by structures with no good foundation for SVG

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