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SANDALS Resorts announces Expansion to CURAÇAO

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#SANTA BARBARA, CURAÇAO, December 10, 2020 – Sandals Resorts International (SRI), the world’s leading all-inclusive company, announced today the signing of an agreement that will bring Sandals® Resorts to a brand-new destination, at the Santa Barbara Resort on the island of Curaçao.

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This will mark the ninth island destination for the brand in the Caribbean region. The new Sandals Curaçao will initially include 350-luxurious rooms and suites stretched along the Spanish Water Bay and the Caribbean Sea, with a further expansion planned in the coming years. Formerly the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, part of a broader 3,000-acre development, the resort will be completely “Sandalized,” a process set to begin in 2021.

Sandals Curaçao will bring the opulent resort innovations to the island, which have become synonymous with the world-renowned Sandals Resorts brand across the region. Conceptual plans for the resort include adding key elements for the signature Sandals experience, including new expansive pools, a variety of 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining options and lavish accommodations, including magnificent newly constructed River Suites. Guests will also have access to the neighboring 18-hole Pete Dye championship golf course, two onsite marinas and 38,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, the largest on the island. 

World-famous for its vibrant culture, pristine beaches and coves, Curaçao also boasts spectacular dive sites and exotic marine ecosystems. With year-round temperatures of 80 degrees, it’s touted as the perfect anytime-escape. The resort will have a positive, immediate and long-term impact on the island and the people of Curaçao. In year one alone, it is expected to have an over $40 million economic footprint and an impressive track record on the creation of new employment. The resort alone will add over 1,200 local jobs, comprised of 800 new team members, and 400 local tradesmen and craftsmen. This will be followed by a positive economic ripple-effect for the community extending to the local taxi and transportation sectors, wider supply chain, agriculture, increased airlift and increased yearly tourism numbers—especially with the key US tourism market.

Roald Smeets, Director of the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, said: “We have a unique opportunity to attract a globally-recognized hotel operator, owner and investor such as Sandals Resorts, which will bring an unprecedented boon to the Curaçao tourism industry and the local economy. Its position as both a hotel operator and owner, with the ability to attract regular scheduled airlines from North America, distinctly marks it out from other hotel groups. We found its impressive plans for the site and dedication to building the profile of Curaçao as a world-class tourism destination particularly compelling. Its future investment into the community will reinvigorate the tourism market, secure the livelihoods of hundreds of families and benefit every individual on the island through rejuvenating the local economy. Curaçao has a tremendous future ahead, due to this exciting new venture, which will put Curaçao truly on the global stage.” 

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Sandals Resorts International Founder and Chairman, the Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, along with Deputy Chairman Adam Stewart, had this to share: “It has been our distinct pleasure to work alongside the government of Curaçao and the Smeets family on this exciting new endeavor for the Sandals brand,” stated Gordon “Butch” Stewart. “We wish to express our deepest gratitude to Roald Smeets, who has been instrumental to this process and absolutely delightful to work with. We plan to do more than our part to raise the world’s appreciation of this beautiful country.”

Adam Stewart added, “Each time we expand, we bring with us the full potential of our 40-years in hospitality. The new Sandals Curaçao embodies our philosophy of forward-thinking and looking through a new lens. It is a promise not only to our guests but to our team members for continued innovation. Curaçao is a place to be discovered, and we are so proud today to become part of this community.”

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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