SAINT Lucia’s hotel stock improved considerably Thursday night with the official opening of the breath-taking Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa at Cap Estate.
Built on the location that once housed Smugglers Cove, the US$250 million, 6-star exhilarating and All-in-Luxury vacation investment has not only raised the brand “Saint Lucia” in world tourism circles.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet thanked the former administration for giving Royalton a home in Saint Lucia.
“I want to recognize Dr. Kenny Anthony and his government for taking the initiative to make this investment happen. When it comes to the issue of investment we must speak with one voice because ultimately this investment is to facilitate the brand Saint Lucia, which has to resound to the benefit of individual St. Lucians,” Chastanet said.
The 455-room hotel, with its exhilarating setting rich with both culture and world-class cuisine, has already made an economic impact on the country.
For instance, it is part of a family-owned group of companies called Sunwing Travel Group that includes Sunwing Airlines, tour operations, hotel operations and a destination management company called Nexus Tours.
The company employed about 850 St. Lucians, according to Stephen Hunter, CEO and President of Sunwing Travel Group. Hunter said that this year the company would be bringing 35,000 new air seats into Saint Lucia and train staff in lifelong skills they could use.
He said his company’s operations will bring $60 million directly into the economy this year.
“This hotel represents an investment of US$250 million and was built in less than 17 months,” Hunter said.
He added that three years ago his company started looking for a new location in the Caribbean to build a new hotel and that it took him just two months to find such a location.
“When I got the phone call, it took me about 10 seconds to say I’ll buy it,” he said of Smugglers Cove when it came on the market.
Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee, who also spoke at the hotel’s opening said Saint Lucia was proud to have Royalton as part of its hotel stock. He urged the company to continue building more rooms to drive employment and economic growth in the country.
The Sunwing Travel Group represents the culmination of over 40 years of travel experience and expertise amassed by the Hunter family. Since its inception, it has grown from the smallest tour operator in Canada to the largest tour operator in North America.