The ceremonial groundbreaking of the
350-room luxury Hyatt Regency Curaçao took place on Thursday, December 1,
2005 attended by a flurry of tourism and hotel officials.Dr. Emsley D. Tromp,
President of the Central Bank of the Netherlands Antilles, made opening
remarks welcoming the Hyatt and reflecting on the tremendous economic impact
the project will have for the island.
Ivar Asjes, Curaçao’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Tourism was also in
attendance to lend his support for the project, “The ceremonial
groundbreaking is a milestone for the island of Curaçao. This project is a
symbol of the growth and prosperity that we have to look forward to as we
continue to implement the infrastructure needed to accommodate the growth in
tourism to our island. We welcome the Hyatt family and know it will be a
successful union for everyone involved,” commented Asjes.
The ceremony, at which Smeets and Pritzker placed the first shovel in the
ground, officially marks the start of the construction of the mixed use
Santa Barbara Plantation project. The project will encompass not only the
luxury Hyatt Regency Curaçao hotel, but also as a 30-slip marina, beach
club, 52 vacation club units, 128 condominium homes, 106 residential lots
and 94 terrace homes.
The Curaçao government supported the initiative with a soft loan of $16
million. The total investment for the first phase of the project is
approximately $104 million. An estimated 700 people will be employed as a
result of this project during its construction and an additional 700
permanent jobs once it is complete.
“With our continued growth in tourism from the U.S. market, we need the
rooms in order to accommodate the increase in visitors. We expect visitor
numbers to continue to climb as steps are put into place to encourage
tourism, starting with the launch of a new non-stop flight from Newark to
Curaçao on Continental beginning December 17, 2005,” Asjes said. Completion
of the Hyatt Regency Curaçao is planned for late 2007.