–Sheraton, Best Western, Delta Marriott among other big names expected here
CLOSE to US$1 billion (G$215B) will soon be injected into Guyana’s economy in the form of world-class hotels which will be constructed across the country to cater for the anticipated increase in visitors, who are being attracted by the nation’s burgeoning oil and gas sector and its spill-off benefits.
A business-friendly climate supplemented by the anticipated economic ascension is being credited for the attraction of major players in the hotel industry such as, Sheraton, The Element, Delta Marriott, Best Western Hotels and Resorts, the H-Tower Luxury Hotel, the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, the Radisson Hotels, and the Hilton Hotels and Resorts, among others.
The Government had recently put out an advertisement for expressions of interest and requests for proposals for investors to build hotels in Guyana. The aim, as outlined by the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, is to provide at least 2,000 first-class rooms, making Guyana “a conventional destination”.
According to a study by Oxford Economics, hotel operations and guest spending support eight million jobs across the U.S. alone. The same study found that a typical hotel with 100 occupied rooms per night supports 230 local jobs every year.
And the nation’s hotel and lodging industry brings other important benefits to local communities. These businesses are a cornerstone for local economic activity, providing increased tax revenue, capital investment, tourism-related development and promotion, civic leadership, charitable contributions and sponsorship.
These benefits are also expected to accrue to Guyana, as the country continues to function as an investment magnet.
“Guyana is leap frogging in growth and development and this is creating new investment opportunities… and our attractive investment regime is what is making investors want to participate in Guyana,” said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, in an invited comment, on Monday.
Dr. Ramsaroop, on Monday, signed several Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with investors who are eyeing the hotel industry.
The Guyana Chronicle understands that MoUs were signed for the construction of a 289-room Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites; a 255-room Delta Marriott Hotel, close to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport; a 400-room H-Tower Luxury Hotel; and an 80-room Best Western Hotel under the name SureStay Plus Hotel.
Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle on Monday, one of the investors for the H-Towers Luxury Hotel, Kerwin Bollers of Hits and Jams Entertainment, said this hotel will be a dual-branded hotel, housing the world-renowned Sheraton Hotel and the Element Hotel, both owned by the Marriott. This is said to be the first of its kind in Guyana and even the Caribbean.
The intended investment for this facility will be close to US$125 million, said Bollers, adding that construction is expected to commence at Providence, East Bank Demerara, in the first quarter of 2021.
“It will have two towers, both over 20 storeys high, connected by an air bridge to form an H…. It will feature, collectively, 400 rooms,” said the investors.
The Sheraton will be for short stays, while The Element will serve more as an apartment-like facility, to offer extended stays. The Element, according to Bollers, will be equipped with a kitchen, living room, work stations and much more.
“It will be a mixed-use concept so there will also be space for a spa, bars, shopping areas and restaurants,” said the investor.
Another massive project, which will soon get underway, is the construction of the SureStay Plus Hotel. This hotel, according to the investors (unnamed) will open its doors to guests, showcasing sleek design, modern amenities and superior service that are synonymous with the Best Western brand.
An initial capital investment of US$15 million will go into the construction of the first hotel, with more investments to be made in the future.
With the construction of its first hotel, the Best Western Georgetown Hotel is anticipated to offer the perfect décor for today’s modern traveler, balancing excitement of the developing Georgetown district with a comfortable and inviting place to rest.
This brand-new property, with modern features and a friendly and knowledgeable staff, will be an exceptional lodging option for business travellers and casual guests, said the investor.
The property will feature over 80 spacious rooms with detailed finishes and will be equipped with all state-of-the-art facilities. It will also house conferencing facilities and flexible meeting spaces.
HIGHEST GUEST SATISFACTION
Dr. Rosh Khan, head of the SocialRank – Business & Consultancy Unit, a local firm hired to assist with Public Relations, also explained: “Best Western was voted the #1 Mid-Scale Hotel. JD Power also presented the brand with the ‘Highest Guest Satisfaction among Economy Hotel Chains’ award. Best Western offers exceptional value – modern amenities at an affordable rate.”
These potential investments are seen as timely, because Guyana, which sits on the edge of South America and has a population of about 750,000 people, is expected to ‘boom’ with its new-found oil wealth, which is expected to drive infrastructural development and other sectoral advancements.
According to reports, the country has already raked in close to US$150 million from its oil-and-gas sector, with lots more to be earned. But the focus, as outlined by the new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government, will be on maintaining a diversified economy.
President Ali had said that progress is expected on all fronts in 2021, which has since been designated as the Year of Investments and Development.
“What you will see next year is a flurry of development; there will be active work on the new Demerara Harbour Bridge, the new four-lane road, new hotels, and the creation of 50,000 homes,” said the President.
He said work will commence on the construction and rehabilitation of roads in hundreds of communities; new infrastructure will be created, and there will be major developments in every sector.
Additionally, private-sector investments are expected to increase, stretching from the construction of new shore bases to service the oil-and-gas sector, to new office complexes and other private development projects.
The President anticipates that, with increased construction, there will be an increased demand for quarry and construction materials and labour. This view was shared by Dr. Ramsaroop.