Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

Royal Caribbean's Freeport, Bahamas port project looking for next steps to proceed

14 May 2020

It appears Royal Caribbean's joint venture for port development is looking to discuss timelines with the Bahamian government on the development of a $300 million project in Freeport, Bahamas.

Holistica Destinations CEO Robert Shamosh told Tribune Business it has “secured the required liquidity” for the project.

There was no timeline for when construction or other milestones will occur, but Hollistica was already in talks with banks and other lenders to secure the necessary project financing, according to Mr. Shamosh.

“Holistica Destinations confirms that we remain committed to, and are moving forward with, the proposed development on Grand Bahama. BPI, Holistica’s subsidiary, recently announced it has secured the required liquidity to develop the Grand Bahama project and is currently working with several financial institutions to secure the financing,” the statement added.

“BPI will be meeting in the next couple of weeks with The Bahamas government to further discuss project details and timelines.” 

In early March 2020, Holistica announced the $300 million investment in Freeport, Grand Bahama that will redevelop the Freeport cruise ship terminal to bring a new world-class destination with a one-of-a-kind hotel, convention center, water adventure park and more.

Bahamian officials, however, seem less optimistic that the project will move forward anytime soon.

Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation, last month told Tribune Business he was “on his knees” hoping both projects pull through. He acknowledged that both Carnival and Royal Caribbean were likely to adopt a “wait and see” approach to those investments once the COVID-19 pandemic eases due to the major financial blow they have suffered.

And, disclosing that the Government “hasn’t heard anything yet” on either development, the minister said his “whole arms are crossed” in the hope both cruise lines will eventually proceed - albeit with some delay to construction and opening schedules - once the global health crisis has abated.

Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest expressed similar sentiments in a Zoom conference with Old Fort Bay Rotary members. “As we understand it, today those projects are still on although admittedly delayed, and we just hope they come through and we come to the bottom of this economic challenge relatively quickly,” he said.

Royal Caribbean announces CEO of Holistica

02 Oct 2019

Royal Caribbean and ITM Group have announced the CEO of its newly formed joint venture will be Carlos Torres de Navarra.

Torres de Navarra has 20 years of experience in port and destination development and has held numerous financial, commercial, strategic and business development roles at the world’s two largest cruise companies.

Holistica is a new company formed earlier this year between Royal Caribbean and ITM Group that seeks to develop cruise ports around the world.

Prior to joining Holistica Torres de Navarra most recently served as Vice President of Global Port and Destination Development for Carnival Corporation and previously as Vice President of Strategic and Commercial Port Development for Carnival Cruise Line.   Prior to joining Carnival, he spent seven years with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. as Assistant Treasurer involved in business development, liquidity and capital planning, financial risk management, acquisitions, as well as port development.

“Carlos’ excellent reputation of building relationships and delivering on strategic and commercial initiatives makes him an ideal candidate to deliver on Holistica’s mission.” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “We are thrilled to have him on board to meet the needs of coastal communities, local governments, and land, sea, and air travelers helping design the future of destinations globally.” 

“Holistica is an organization led by a purpose – to make a positive and sustainable impact in destination development while exceeding the expectations of all stakeholders,” said Torres de Navarra. “I am honored and eager to help lead Holistica’s efforts around the globe and meet the growing demands of the cruise industry and its partner destinations.”

Royal Caribbean forms new joint venture to develop ports around the world

24 Jun 2019

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today a new joint venture with ITM Group that seeks to develop cruise ports around the world.

The new company is called Holistica, and its goal is create an inclusive model for destination development that works holistically – thus the name – to meet the needs of coastal communities, local governments, and land, sea, and air travelers.

The first project for the new company is a $275 million development in Freeport, The Bahamas that is centered around the Grand Lucayan resort. The project includes ambitious plans for local ownership, employment, job training, community investment and sustainable construction practices.

In addition to the Freeport project, the companies said the new venture will own and operate destinations in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Kumamoto, Japan.

The partners have commenced a search for a CEO for the new company, which will be headquartered in Miami. 

"The continuing growth and rising popularity of cruise vacations make it clear that the sustainable development of coastal destinations, including the thoughtful evolution of existing ones, is in the travel industry's best interest," said Michael Bayley of RCL. "We have spent five decades learning what works and what doesn't, and we know the potential of strategic development to deliver extraordinary guest experiences and meet the needs of local communities."

Added Bayley: "Having more destinations, and developing them in a responsible manner, gives travelers greater vacation quality, and expands the landscape of available travel options as the tourism industry grows."

Subscribe to Holistica