(PRESS RELEASE) – St Kitts’ oldest boutique hotel, transformed into a four-star resort with a US$5 million loan from the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), is closing its doors permanently sending some 50 persons on the breadline.
A statement from TDC Chairman Earl Kelly Thursday said as a result of continuing losses at the hotel, exacerbated by the impact of the coranovirus pandemic, which has decimated the local and international hospitality and travel sectors, Ocean Terrace Inn will close its doors permanently on March 30, 2020.
Ocean Inn stretches back to 1969 when a private home was turned into a hotel with a loan from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), guaranted by the then St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party administration of Robert Bradshaw, OTI expaned over the years to become one of St Kitts’ most popular tourist accommodation sites.
A US$5 million loan from the Sugar Diversification Foundation (SIDF) in 2013 saw substantial improvements made to the hotel plant, infrastructure and amenities including technologies to reduce the hotels’ energy demand as well as state of art information and telecommunication platform.
“It is improving an iconic property. The OTI has been the symbol of tourism in the heart of Basseterre and is very, very, significant for us not only as a government, but as a people. The refurbishment of this property has been a long time in waiting and has eventually arrived,” said then Prime Minister the Rt Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas during a tour of the construction site in 2014. Dr Douglas said at the time that the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, one of the options of the Citizenship by Investment Programme “is to provide the necessary capital to improve on the infrastructure generally of the country and to provide incentives during a period of prolonged global, economic and financial recession.”
According to sources some 50 will persons will become unemployed.