US$15M Aiden Hotel to now facilitate 49 additional rooms
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Co-Director of Arimu Investments Inc., Geraldo Alphonso (first from left); Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Go-Invest, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop (second from left); Co-Director of Arimu Investments Inc., Lorenzo Alphonso (centre); Best Western’s Director of Hotel Development for South America, Luis Alberto Tito (second from right); and attorney-at-law Sase Gunraj, during a site visit, on Thursday (Delano Williams Photo)
Co-Director of Arimu Investments Inc., Geraldo Alphonso (first from left); Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Go-Invest, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop (second from left); Co-Director of Arimu Investments Inc., Lorenzo Alphonso (centre); Best Western’s Director of Hotel Development for South America, Luis Alberto Tito (second from right); and attorney-at-law Sase Gunraj, during a site visit, on Thursday (Delano Williams Photo)

–as investor acquires more land

THE US$15 million Aiden by Best Western Hotel, which is being developed by the Guyanese-owned Arimu Investments Inc., is set to expand from its initial 101-room capacity to 150 rooms, following the investor’s acquisition of additional lands at its Robb and Oronoque Streets, Georgetown, location.

The company’s plans for expansion were outlined by Co-Director of Arimu Investments Inc., Lorenzo Alphonso, following a site visit on Thursday.

Alphonso said that Aiden is a boutique-style hotel under the world-renowned Best Western Hotel and Resorts. It is part of a trendy collection of laid-back boutique hotels that blend cool, casual and charm with an eclectic neighbourly feel.

No two hotels are alike, as each is designed to reflect the unique personality of each community/country they serve. Guests would discover local flair and imaginative designs with Aiden as their welcoming and stylish host.

The Aiden would be providing guests with executive chauffeur services, shuttle bus tours around Guyana, Demerara River tours and the investor is also engaging the aviation sector for helicopter tour packages.

Alphonso said that works on the facility are progressing in line with the estimated timeframe for completion. The specific deadline for this project is the second quarter of 2023.

He related that since undertaking the project, other than heavy rainfall in mid-2021, there have been no setbacks in the progression of works. The main reason for the company’s unhindered progress is support from the government.

“We have had all the support from the necessary government agencies, from Mr. [Peter] Ramsaroop and Go-Invest, from the government, as a whole, there was no red tape or no backlog. From the first time when they issued the expression of interest in November 2020 for people that are interested in bringing hotel franchises, it was 100 per cent support from then to now,” Alphonso said.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, related that this investment is instrumental, especially because an indigenous company is behind the project.

He said even as the economy continues to grow, President Dr. Irfaan Ali, and, by extension, the government, are committed to ensuring that Guyanese benefit from investment opportunities that are available locally.

This investment from Arimu, according to Dr. Ramsaroop, is timely, since the government predicts an increase in demand for services in the hospitality sector.

He related that available data shows that there is an increased need for hotel accommodations; this is projected to continue over the next five years.

“The Best Western rep for this same brand, said he had to book his hotel since November to get a room at the Marriott. So, we’re out of corporate rooms and the President and us, we predicted that we needed 2,000 new rooms by 2025… we are on our way to getting that.

“Even now, we have the energy conference coming up, people can’t find hotel rooms… 400 to 500 people are going to come in for that conference, and we’re behind with catering to those numbers, so the faster projects like this are undertaken and delivered, we can cater to what is needed,” Dr. Ramsaroop said.

GUYANESE BUSINESS
Such investments would not just benefit the persons that will be employed in the sector, but it would also benefit persons along the supply chain.

According to Dr. Ramsaroop, several key elements for the construction of the Aiden Hotel were purchased and manufactured by locals.

“What is important about this project is not just the local investors, but the fact that locals are also benefitting, like the steel going up here is done by a local Guyanese company. So, we are really stepping up as local Guyanese companies to be able to deliver on the needs of the nation,” he said.

Elaborating on the point of local content, Dr. Ramsaroop said that about 65 per cent of the private investments made in 2021 that were approved by Go-Invest, were from locals.

The CEO, in a recent interview, had said that the government has been implementing systems to provide incentives to all investors, whether large or small.

According to Dr. Ramsaroop, outlined in the government’s plans, are opportunities for persons to become investors, and benefit from opportunities across several sectors.

Even as the government continues to encourage local investors to benefit from the available opportunities, Dr. Ramsaroop said that systems have been implemented to train and equip Guyanese with the necessary tools that would allow them to reap the benefits of any investment.

He said too that several private sector organisations are also offering free training sessions to prepare local investors to enter various sectors.

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