The Head of the National Industrial Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and Chairman of Atlantic Hotels Inc. Winston Brassington maintains that the Marriott Hotel project is a good one for Guyana and all issues surrounding the investment and construction have been open and transparent. His statement comes even as he admits that the hotel is still awaiting financing closure.
On Thursday, Brassington released details of a feasibility study on the Marriott project. That study was completed by U.S company HVS Consulting and Evaluation. According to the company, Guyana stands to benefit tremendously from its investment in the project.
Brassington said in many Caribbean countries, Governments invest in the hotel industry and Guyana should follow that lead. He used the examples of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Puerto Rico.
However, when News Source pointed out to him that all of those countries have a thriving tourism market with over 400,000 visitor arrivals every year, Brassington admitted that the comparison he made is not a fair one but posited that Guyana should still invest because those countries may be seeing those high numbers in arrivals because of the presence of world-class hotels.
The Head of NICIL said Guyana ranks 149th in the world when it comes to investment in the tourism and hospitality sectors. “We have not been investing in our hotel and hospitality sectors”, he said. According to Mr. Brassington it is justifiable “when looking at trends” for the country to make an investment in the hotel industry.
The Marriott Hotel will house a Casino and a nightclub. Both will be operated independently of the hotel although the hotel would have to first give approval. Brassington explained that four companies have expressed an interest in operating the entertainment complex and their bids are currently being examined.
He did not want to give details about the companies and neither did he want to offer any names. While pointing out that Guyanese companies have expressed an interest in the entertainment complex, he would give a specific number of how many local companies.
The construction of the 197 room hotel in Kingston, Georgetown carries a US$58 Million price tag. The Government is hoping that Republic Bank buys into the project through financing to the tune of US$27 Million. Brassington said he is confident that the deal with Republic Bank will be closed soon.
The administration is still awaiting final approval from the Bank. Additionally, a private equity partner is still being sought. NICIL is expected to also invest in the hotel project.
The Opposition parties have been expressing their own concerns about the project and its feasibility. The Government is convinced that the Hotel is needed in Guyana as this country makes efforts to boost its international tourism drive.
Construction work is continuing at the Brickdam site of the hotel by a Chinese company that is listed among some of the most reputable contractors in the world. The new high-rise hotel will block the navigation signal from the historic Georgetown lighthouse which directs ocean-going vessels. New navigation equipment have already been purchased, according to Brassington, and will be installed atop the new hotel when construction is completed.
Once the project continues on schedule with all financing in place, the Marriott Hotel in Guyana could open its doors by the third quarter of 2014.