Managing Director of Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort Winston Anderson has defended the hotel’s expansion plans amidst criticisms that the resort chain may have too large of an influence on the local tourism sector, as a single company.
Sandals announced in December that it would be adding a fourth resort here and recently acquired the 18-hole Championship St. Lucia Golf Club, now called the Sandals St. Lucia Golf and Country Club, for which major upgrades are in store.
Andreson, speaking to HTS News4orce, said he believes that Sandals’ investments in the island and the resort chain’s upcoming upgrades auger well for the wider population.
“I think, the proposed new resort is gonna take the destination to another level. On the economic side we have made tremendous contributions. We have currently about 1800 people employed at the resorts. What this new resort is gonna do, it’s gonna add another 600-700 jobs,” he stated.
“The golf course which we just acquired – we are in the process of expanding that and I am hastened to say, not expand it as a part of Sandals, but expand it as a free-standing entity primarily where St Lucians can enjoy, and the other resorts. We’re adding tennis courts, we’re adding pool, kiddies centre and a number of other things so that it is something that we, all of us in St. Lucia, can be proud of. So I believe [that] adding another resort is really going to help all those stakeholders,” he said.
The chairman said he is excited about the upcoming development as it gives him a greater opportunity to work closer with St. Lucia and to further drive the destination. He said that all the upgrades are in line with the hotel chain’s role to develop people.
He added that Sandals recently met with Gros Islet fishermen and is also looking to foster stronger relationships with agriculture stakeholders.