Butch Kerzner Clarifies Remarks on Cable Beach Competition

Kerzner Clears Air On Cable Beach Competition





Kerzner International CEO Butch Kerzner released a statement Tuesday defending his recent statements regarding possible “destructive” competition between Paradise Island and Cable Beach, which have fuelled much feed back.


And he made it clear that his project is going ahead no matter what, although he had said recently that any development on Cable Beach that went after the same market, as Atlantis would force Kerzner to “reassess things


While accusing the media and others of trying to place Kerzner in conflict with the government’s position on Cable Beach, Mr. Kerzner reiterated that redevelopment must be done in what he has called a sensible manner.


"The point that I have been trying to make is that successful destinations such as Orlando, Las Vegas and the Dominican Republic have developed resorts to appeal to a wide range of audiences across lots of different price points,” said Mr. Kerzner, who wants the government to encourage Cable Beach to pursue the mid-market while Kerzner pursues the “very small” high-end market.


Mr. Kerzner said while a guest on the Love 97 programme “Jones and Company” which aired Sunday that the high-end market makes up less than three percent of U.S. households.


Referring to the destinations that cater to a wide audience, Mr. Kerzner said in his Tuesday release, “That is what has made them successful.  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. 


“Just because this might sound self-serving does not make it untrue."


Mr Kerzner continued that, "The Bahamas' average room rate is already more than twice that of Las Vegas and Orlando and we must be careful that we do not price the destination out of the market.  In any event, whatever happens on Cable Beach will happen.  We will not get distracted from our core mission of making Atlantis something that all of us working and living in the Bahamas can be proud of.  As far as we are concerned it is still full-steam ahead with the planning for Phase III.  This is a great country with great people and I am optimistic about our future."


He said Kerzner is not opposed to any major redevelopment on Cable Beach.


Talk of direct competition between Kerzner’s Atlantis resort and Cable Beach follow indications made by the prime minister that he intends to announce a $1 billion investment project for the popular New Providence strip.


Last month, Kerzner announced that it intends to carry out a $1 billion expansion of Atlantis.


Mr. Kerzner said Tuesday; “Major investment on Cable Beach is a good thing for The Bahamas, for tourism, and even for our company here on Paradise Island.  We are not afraid of competition.  Every single day of every week, of every year, we compete with the best in the world - from Orlando to Las Vegas to Hawaii.  We compete with multi-billion projects and we are successful."


He said, “Many folks have tried to make out that our position on Cable Beach is in conflict with Government's position.  The possibility of a disagreement sounds interesting to many people, particularly in the media - it sounds like news.  But, I need to make it clear, that I do not have enough information to know whether I agree or disagree with government on the proposed plans for Cable Beach.  But even if we did disagree, that would not be a major problem. 


“I consider our partnership with government to be outstanding and, as in all relationships, points of difference sometimes arise.  We voice our opinions and then we go on with our business."


Mr. Kerzner’s recent remarks urging that Cable Beach be encouraged to target the mid-market has stunned many people, including some parliamentarians. One senior government member of the House also said outside the chamber of the House of Assembly Monday that he was shocked that Kerzner would make such a request.


The official also confirmed that Kerzner officials did send a letter to the Cabinet advising of their concerns.



Bahamas News and Views