The country’s tourism outlook and the overall economy as outlined by Finance Minister Gaston Browne look bright, with multi-million-dollar projects earmarked for the island.
In his budget presentation in Parliament on Thursday, Browne shed light on some major private and public sector projects, some already underway on the island.
“The $7 billion PLH [Peace Love and Harmony] luxury development on Barbuda will continue construction, with an additional $400 million being spent in 2023, bringing the total spend by the end of this year to $2 billion,” Browne, who is also the country’s prime minister said.
The PLH development, though marred by controversy, has employed more than 600 jobs.
Browne also mentioned that his government’s partnership with the PLH has also secured the construction of a new airport.
The airport according to Browne will receive flights in a few months but will be officially opened later in the year.
The rebuilding and expansion of the River Dock cargo port will commence in April to be completed by the end of the year, he said, in addition to another project on Barbuda; the US$250 million Paradise Found Resort.
“Further construction on this project will take place, creating more employment. A third project on Barbuda that will begin construction is the US$130 million high-end resort by Murbee Resorts Inc. Next month, the developers hope to conclude a letter of intent with a world-renowned luxury operator, with completion of contracts by June. Construction is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of this year,” he said.
This, he said would result in another luxury brand name resort that will be established on Barbuda, rapidly moving the island into the realm of a high-end luxury destination.
“We will also construct ten miles of concrete roads this year on Barbuda. Further, a five-star hotel, to be called Royalton Chic, will be developed at the site of the former Halcyon Cove Hotel. This resort will be developed by Sunwing International, providing jobs for over 450 workers in the construction and operational phases,” Browne explained.
Browne also mentioned a $120 million investment by Sandals Grande resort to upgrade and expand, adding to the national room stock and providing construction and permanent jobs for hundreds of people.
“It should be clear that, with the hundreds of construction jobs, and additional jobs in the hotel industry, Antigua and Barbuda will enjoy full employment,” he said
Carlisle Bay Resort, the high-end property located in Old Road, will also expand starting in August of this year, for US$120 million, PM Browne said, disclosing also that, Ambassador Calvin Ayre is currently constructing a US$40 million conference retreat center, located on the southern side of the island
“Later this year, he will commence construction of a US$250 million Nikki Beach and residences comprising 90 hotel rooms, 70 branded residences, 10 villas, two restaurants, a beach club, spa, and gym. Finally, the Moon Gate Hotel and Spa, overlooking Half-Moon Bay will continue construction this year,” he disclosed.
Over US$100 million will be invested in luxury homes across the island to include Windward Beach, Jumby Bay, Mill Reef, and the Baron Lorne Thyssen mansion at Laurie Bay, Browne added.
The government has also been informed that HMB property is being sold to an ultra-luxury brand in the UAE.