The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development Investment, and Energy is pleased to announce that a solid rescue plan is now in place to ensure the continued operation of The Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, in Antigua and Barbuda.
Effective 1 January 2016, Mr. Robert A. Barrett, Chairman of the highly successful Elite Island Resorts group, will be stepping in to help manage and reorganize the Jolly Beach Resort’s operation. This is pursuant to an agreement dated 28 December 2015 between Mr. Barrett and Jolly Beach Corporation, the resort’s current owner.
Jolly Beach Resort is a very important national asset for the people of Antigua & Barbuda. The resort is comprised of 464 guest rooms on 37 acres, and employs hundreds of staff. The resort not only provides significant employment but also creates significant opportunities for other local businesses and collateral industries—in addition to generating substantial tax revenue for the Government.
Additionally, Jolly Beach Resort is a favourite among many top international tour operators in the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and the United States. Keeping the resort opens means flights will continue, as it enables the destination to continue to provide a critical mass of rooms that is absolutely needed to fill the back of the planes. The agreement will commence in the New Year and run for 90 days in the first instance to ensure that there is no disruption to bookings during the heart of the winter season. This strategic move brokered by the Government is in the interest of the hundreds of employees who work at the resort and who are now guaranteed employment during what is expected to be a bumper winter tourist season for Antigua and Barbuda.
The move will be welcomed by all of the destination’s overseas tour operators who market Jolly Beach as one of Antigua and Barbuda’s beach resorts, with the most competitive lead in price point.
To keep the resort operational, and begin making improvements, Mr. Barrett has committed to providing initial funding of up to EC$1,344,100. Mr. Barrett and his team will also be providing expert managerial oversight and advice with the goal of making Jolly Beach Resort a success story that we can all be proud of.
Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy the Hon. Asot A Michael expressed his delight at the agreement that has been reached and pledged both his and the Government’s support to ensure the success of this initiative.
“Our most important goal was to stabilize Jolly Beach and improve its operations, while preserving the hundreds of jobs of those who work directly and indirectly for the resort. We approached Mr. Barrett, who has a long and successful track record in managing hotel properties in Antigua and Barbuda for over thirty years. His company is well known for turning around distressed properties and marketing them very effectively in our overseas source markets. We are very pleased that Mr. Barrett and Elite Island Resorts have stepped up to the plate. We now have renewed confidence that Jolly Beach will be a success,” said the Hon. Asot Michael.
He continued, “Resort guests and tour operators can now rest assured that Jolly Beach is open for business, and all bookings will be honoured without interruption, This decisive and creative plan brokered by the Government is indicative of the creative strategies that we are prepared to implement to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda’s vital tourism industry is secured and continues to thrive to the benefit of all our citizens, residents and industry partners.”