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Sandals Calls Off Tobago Expansion Plans Sandals Calls Off Tobago Expansion Plans Sandals Calls Off Tobago Expansion Plans Sandals Calls Off Tobago Expansion Plans Sandals Calls Off Tobago Expansion Plans

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Sandals Calls Off Tobago Expansion Plans

January 16, 2019

Sandals Resorts International has pulled out of a major expansion project that would have brought both a Sandals and a Beaches resort to the island of Tobago.

According to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, Sandals CEO Gebhard Rainer said the main reason for withdrawing was the negative publicity surrounding the project.

According to a statement TravelPulse obtained from Sandals Wednesday morning, “After careful consideration of our current priorities and existing expansion plans, we will unfortunately not be moving forward with development in Tobago at this time.”

And travel agents aren’t happy to hear the news.

“Sandals brings an immense amount of publicity to a destination. If they build it, people will come,” Jennifer Doncsecz, president of VIP Vacations, Inc. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, told TravelPulse. “So, if a country’s own people can’t get behind the powerful machine that is Sandals and the amount of tourism that would result from Sandals, it is realistic to understand why Sandals would decide to withdraw, especially because of the negativity.”

In late November, government officials in Trinidad and Tobago released a memorandum of understanding document outlining details of the Sandals proposal.

Stuart Young, Trinidad and Tobago’s minister of communications and national security, said at the time that the project was expected to bring up to 80,000 visitors to Tobago annually and deliver an economic impact of up to $80 million per year. The resort would have employed up to 2,000 local residents.

“The amount of jobs Sandals would have brought. Just shaking my head,” said Doncsecz. “I’m sure Sandals is upset. They had big plans.”

And Doncsecz is right.

The plans, which were first announced in October, called for both a Sandals Resorts hotel and a Beaches Resorts property. And as far as the Sandals property went, Sandals CEO Gebhard Rainer told TravelPulse last year that Over-the-Water Bungalows was seriously being considered as a room category at the time.

Sandals’ Over-the-Water Bungalows first debuted in 2016 at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The company followed that up with the launch of Over-the-Water Bungalows at Sandals Grande St. Lucian.

“VIP Vacations was looking forward to having a well-known brand in Tobago and we are disappointed that it is not going to happen, but fully understand why,” said Doncsecz. “I am sure that there are many other destinations that are hoping Sandals/Beaches will opt to build a resort there.”

(Source: TravelPulse)

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