Royal Bahamian to benefit from Sandals Antigua closure

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By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

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Sandals Royal Bahamian yesterday said the temporary closure of the all-inclusive chain’s Antigua property had steered more business to the Cable Beach-based resort, with the “biggest impact” expected in early December.

Gary Williams, Sandals Royal Bahamian’s general manager, confirmed that it stood to benefit from the relocation of ‘some’ of the Antigua property’s business.

Sandals recently announced the temporary closure of Sandals Grande Antigua from September 20 for maintenance, with the resort expected to reopen on December 17. The closure will affect some 700 hotel staff in addition to the holiday, honeymoon and wedding plans of numerous travellers.

Mr Williams said some of that business had been redirected to Sandals Royal Bahamian. “It’s not a whole lot, but there have been relocations to this property, especially as it relates to the wedding business,” he said.

“I know that, especially in the first 20 days of December, I have seen a jump in my occupancies. We also see some increases in September, but not as much. Basically, we are getting some of the business in September, October, and November, with the biggest impact in early December for sure.”

Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, has described the Sandals closure as an “act of hostility”, designed to win tax concessions from the government. The prime minister’s allegation was refuted by Sandals, which maintains it is continuing to engage with affected staff, union representatives and government officials.

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