New investment in future of Caribbean tourism projected to provide more than 1,000 jobs

By Jamaica Observer,

Sandals Resorts International (SRI) yesterday announced the signing of an agreement that will bring the award-winning company to Curaçao, a development that will create more than 1,000 jobs and which the owners say is “an investment in the future of Caribbean tourism”.

“Each time we expand, we bring with us the full potential of our 40 years in hospitality. The new Sandals Curaçao embodies our philosophy of forward-thinking and looking through a new lens. It is a promise not only to our guests but to our team members for continued innovation,” Adam Stewart, Sandals and Jamaica Observer deputy chairman said in a news release.

“Curaçao is a place to be discovered, and we are so proud today to become part of this community,” he added.

Sandals Curaçao, which will mark the ninth island destination for the brand in the Caribbean, will initially include 350 luxurious rooms and suites stretched along the Spanish Water Bay and the Caribbean Sea, with a further expansion planned in the coming years.

Formerly named Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, part of a broader 3,000-acre development, the resort will be completely “Sandalized”, a process set to begin in 2021, the Jamaican-owned resort company stated.

“Sandals Curaçao will bring the opulent resort innovations to the island, which have become synonymous with the world-renowned Sandals Resorts brand across the region. Conceptual plans for the resort include adding key elements for the signature Sandals experience, including new expansive pools, a variety of 5-Star Global Gourmet dining options and lavish accommodations, including magnificent newly constructed River Suites,” Sandals said.

“Guests will also have access to the neighbouring 18-hole Pete Dye championship golf course, two on-site marinas and 38,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, the largest on the island.”

World-famous for its vibrant culture, pristine beaches and coves, Curaçao also boasts spectacular dive sites and exotic marine ecosystems. With year-round temperatures of 80 degrees, the island is touted as the perfect anytime escape.

“The resort will have a positive, immediate and long-term impact on the island and the people of Curaçao. In year one alone, it is expected to have an economic impact of over US$40 million and an impressive track record on the creation of new employment. The resort alone will add over 1,200 local jobs, comprised of 800 new team members, and 400 local tradesmen and craftsmen. This will be followed by a positive economic ripple effect for the community extending to the local taxi and transportation sectors, wider supply chain, agriculture, increased airlift and increased yearly tourism numbers — especially with the key US tourism market,” Sandals stated.

“We have a unique opportunity to attract a globally recognised hotel operator, owner and investor such as Sandals Resorts, which will bring an unprecedented boon to the Curaçao tourism industry and the local economy,” the release quotes Roald Smeets, director of Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort.

“Its position as both a hotel operator and owner, with the ability to attract regular scheduled airlines from North America, distinctly marks it out from other hotel groups. We found its impressive plans for the site and dedication to building the profile of Curaçao as a world-class tourism destination particularly compelling. Its future investment into the community will reinvigorate the tourism market, secure the livelihoods of hundreds of families and benefit every individual on the island through rejuvenating the local economy,” Smeets said, adding, “Curaçao has a tremendous future ahead, due to this exciting new venture, which will put Curaçao truly on the global stage.”

Sandals Resorts International Founder and Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart, who is also chairman of the Observer, said: “It has been our distinct pleasure to work alongside the Government of Curaçao and the Smeets family on this exciting new endeavour for the Sandals brand. We wish to express our deepest gratitude to Roald Smeets, who has been instrumental to this process and absolutely delightful to work with. We plan to do more than our part to raise the world’s appreciation of this beautiful country.”

Main Photo: An aerial view of the new Sandals Curaçao at the former Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort

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