(T&T GUARDIAN) – Sandals in Tobago will be a windfall for all, particularly smaller hoteliers, the regional hotel chain said in a statement which sought to dispel claims about its operations.
Tobago will be among the biggest beneficiaries of increased economic activity, including global marketing and an exponential increase in airlift, Sandals said.
“Not everyone who arrives on the flights we attract will stay at Sandals, indeed many will seek other options creating a significant increase in business for the smaller hotels.
“And we would like to dismiss out of hand this fable that our guests remain on resort. Sandals guests go out into the community in droves. Through our partnership with Island routes and our local tour operators on the islands, thousands of guests leave our resorts every day to go on tours, to go dining, shopping and to enjoy other attractions,” the statement said.
Sandals said its mandate was to always buy local where possible and it had set the standard when it came to engaging local farmers, taxi drivers, entertainers, tour operators and small business persons, including those who made craft and clothing.
The hotel also responded to what it said were misleading reports, including “a totally sensationalised headline regarding a recent statement by Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley.”
“However, we are not and have never been deterred by fake news, rather we appreciate the opportunity it gives us to set the record straight.
“First, we have, and have always had an amicable relationship with Prime Minister Mottley. The Prime Minister is aware that Sandals is completely open to working with her government—as we have worked with governments throughout the region—to help move Barbados into a better and brighter future, because that ultimately is what is best for all of us,” the statement said.
It said Sandals has become a key economic player in Barbados in just three and a half short years and was the largest contributor of foreign exchange, providing employment and training for some 1,000 persons in Barbados.
“Within that short time period we have built two of the most-sought after resorts in the region, one of which opened just last December and which was built by Barbadian contractors in record time. Already we are adding an additional 50 suites at the new Sandals Royal Barbados which will be available from October.
“We also intend to break ground on a new Beaches hotel in Saint Peter in January 2019, and that will more than double our economic footprint. Immediately that project creates 1,500 construction jobs and will create some 1,750 full time jobs upon completion. This means we will employ in Barbados close to 3,000 of the most highly trained and potent hoteliers in the region,” the statement said.
Regarding rumours that Sandals don’t pay taxes, the entity said this was “totally untrue,” adding that it paid significant taxes in Barbados including Value Added Tax.