Christie Touts Cable Beach
Prime Minister Perry Christie has admitted that he is not minded to encourage Cable Beach to target mid-market tourists, as is the wish of Kerzner International executives.
Kerzner officials have made it clear in recent weeks that while they are not against competition, Atlantis and Ocean Club, not Cable Beach, should target high-spending visitors.
“As prime minister, I have indicated to the Kerzner family and to its board of directors that my government values their investment to date,” Mr. Christie told the Journal recently. “They know, the Kerzners, that we have a problem with Cable Beach. They know that there has to be radical improvement to the product of Cable Beach.”
Kerzner CEO Butch Kerzner has said that improving Cable Beach would be good for the destination, but he has also said that any development for that area should not directly compete with Paradise Island.
Mr. Christie said, however, he and his government would find it difficult to turn down any investment for Cable Beach that would be five-star quality.
“We live in a country where the challenge for the government, if we are to listen to advice, is how do we go about when an investor buys a property and decides with his money that he wants to spend $5 million, how do we tell him to spend 2? How do we do that? That is the difficulty that we face,” he said.
Mr. Christie said he would like to see a five-start development on Cable Beach to complement the five-star Paradise Island development and the planned upgrades to the Nassau International Airport, which will also make it a five-star facility.
“That is what I saw, being able to facilitate this significant increase in tourism to New Providence,” the prime minister said.
He said he will deal more intimately with Kerzner’s concerns at it relates to “destructive” competition after he addresses other more pressing issues.
Mr. Christie said he is focused on selling the Radisson Cable Beach Resort and securing $10 million for the Treasury.
“Until such time, therefore, as I am informed that there is an agreement to buy the hotels on Cable Beach, I need not focus on anything other than the sale of the Radisson,” he said.
The prime minister also said that the owner of the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino Phil Ruffin has not agreed to sell his property, so the government is a good distance away from addressing the debate evolving over competition.
“If in the process we are able to cause there to be a wonderful development at Cable Beach, we would cross the bridge that has been put in my way, when we come to that, if we have to,” he told the Journal.
Mr. Kerzner said in a release last week that, “If done correctly, redevelopment will expand the size of the pie rather than us all fighting for the same slice of the pie. It is the difference between constructive as opposed to destructive competition. Where overbuilding has taken place in one market segment the result has been failure.”