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Published 18th March 2016, 3:24pm

Tourism Minister Hon. Moses Kirkconnell is confident that the temporary loss of room stock with the closure of Beach Suites will not have a long term negative impact on the tourism accommodation sector.

He was responding to news of the sale of the former Hyatt Resort, Grand Cayman Beach Suites and Britannia Golf Course to Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd.

“The loss of 53 rooms occurs in September during the typically slower shoulder season,” stated the Minister. “While this is unfortunate, the room stock will quickly be supplemented by 266 guest rooms and 62 rental apartments when the Kimpton Sea Fire opens its doors two months later. The main priority for Government at this time is ensuring that the staff of Beach Suites is well supported and treated fairly during the transition. I am pleased that Dart’s Management team has confirmed that all staff impacted by the closure will have the opportunity for employment either within the Kimpton Hotel or Dart’s wider group of companies. Severance packages will also be offered to all employees and optional retirement packages will be available for persons of retirement age. Maintaining employment is certainly positive news, especially with respect to long standing and experienced Caymanian staff”

In addition to the Kimpton Hotel, Dart Realty is expanding its Camana Bay footprint and adding two additional lanes to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.

“Dart’s proven track record of real estate development promises several years of economic stimulus, including work for local companies and employment opportunities,” said Mr. Kirkconnell. “Whatever they ultimately design for these properties, we look forward to the visitor experience being memorable and enjoyable, in keeping with the Cayman Islands established reputation as a world-class tourism destination.”

Tourism Councillor Joseph Hew stated that he is encouraged by the level of sales and development activity taking place within the tourism accommodations sector, from the Seven Mile Beach area to Bodden Town and East End.

“Over the past year in particular we have seen strong interest in tourism properties from both new entrants and existing developers within the Cayman Islands. The sheer number of projects that are either in the planning stages for development, or have transferred ownership, speaks to the strength of our economy and reflects our record breaking air arrivals over the past three years in particular. This translates into more Caymanian jobs now and in the future,” he said.