A $500 million first-class hotel and property development, bearing the Marriott brand is to be constructed in Tobago in 2023 to boost significantly Tobago’s struggling tourism sector. Estimated time of completion is 2025.
Evolving Technologies and Enterprise Development Co Ltd (eTecK) chairman Imtiaz Ahamad made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Lowlands.
He said the proposed development, which is being undertaken by Superior Hotels Ltd, will be built at Rocky Point on approximately 28 acres of land on the western side of Grafton Road and south of Pleasant Prospect.
Ahamad said the project is expected to provide jobs for 750 people during construction. On completion, the development will employ 250 people.
It comprises a 200-room hotel, 28 duplex residences, 11 single-family luxury villas and 12 fully outfitted townhouses. The development will also contain facilities for scuba diving, jogging, cycling, local food and craft among other amenities.
Ahamad said after an extensive evaluation of five months, a five-man committee completed and submitted its report and recommendations to the Cabinet, which approved them,
“The proposal submitted by Superior Hotels TT Ltd entails the development of an all-inclusive world class resort with a Marriott brand.”
He said Superior Hotels Ltd, which has vast experience in large-scale hotel and property management and development locally and abroad, is headed by chairman and lead investor John Aboud and includes George and Anthony Rahael and Richard Smith.
Ahamad said eTecK must now issue a letter of offer to Superior Hotels for a 99-year lease of the land at Rocky Point.
THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis told Tobagonians the development will not suffer the same fate as Sandals Resorts International.
“It was only five years ago that we almost had a Sandals. But I want to give the people of Tobago the assurance that this time around, it will not be about 'almost' – but we will have a Marriott hotel here in Tobago by 2025,” he said.
He said the hotel is just one of several investments expected to take place in Tobago within the next few years.
“This $500-million investment in the tourism sector is only part of what is expected to be millions of dollars in the tourism sector over the next few years, because I want to say as well that this is only one of a possible – I would not want to call the amount – but there are other possibilities for hotel investments here in Tobago.”
Dennis said a marina is also on the drawing board for the near future.
“Therefore what you have is a situation where millions of dollars is being invested in the tourism sector in Tobago, both by the State and private developers coming on board as well. Because for this particular project, the entire $500 million is being invested by private individuals.”
He added, “I think that signals that despite our challenges, all of us must admit that the tourism sector is possibly the greatest casualty of this pandemic…But I want to give all of us the assurance that the tourism sector will bounce back…and therefore we must continue to prepare for that.”
Dennis also urged Tobagonians to avoid bad-mouthing the project.
“All of us were around and saw what transpired with the Sandals project and I am saying to the people of Tobago that we have a responsibility to ensure that this becomes a success. Ask questions, share your concerns if you have any. But I am saying that attempts to malign and derail this project should not be encouraged in the Tobago space.
“Therefore, I am saying to all of the stakeholders, not just the politicians…even on the very young people relying on this sector for employment, you have a responsibility to support this project and investments such as these.”
Dennis said Tobago cannot build a robust tourism sector without such an investment.
Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon and Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell also spoke.