The Antigua and Barbuda economy is poised to regain the 20 percent loss it suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the Browne and Browne Show on Saturday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said although the country has not yet fully recovered the revenue losses caused by the pandemic, the future investments that are planned will stimulate record economic growth rates of over seven percent for several years to come.
“I have just been informed by an official of the Rob Barrett Group that they are pushing to have parts of the Jolly Beach Hotel available by December 15, 2022. Can you imagine what our tourism figures are going to be with the Jolly Beach coming back on line? It’s going to be a very strong quarter going into the first quarter of 2023 for tourism,” he said.
“Of the 20 percent we lost, by the end of this year, we would have regained 15 percent, and next year we will do at least eight percent meaning that we would have a net of 3 percent gain in the economy.
“Additionally, I think that this country is set to grow its economy by 7 to 8 percent over the next 10 years based on the amount of investments we have attracted,,” he explained.
Among the projects he identified as being key to the fulfillment of these growth projections is the PLH Barbuda development which has sold over US$600 million in property.
“PLH is a US$2 billion investment and that’s no exaggeration. The amount they have sold is verifiable as the alien land holdings certificates come to Cabinet each week for signature.
“Then you have the Packer project that is coming on stream. They sent their project manager to see me who confirmed that they will start in January 2023.
“I have indicated that there is yet another investor who has already deposited US$30 million in the bank and that project too will start next year,” PM Browne revealed.
Other major investments include the one which will be spearheaded by British real estate mogul, Peter Verdee, who met with the Cabinet two weeks ago and expressed interest in moving forward with the Barbuda-based project.
In Antigua, the redevelopment of Halcyon Cove by the Sunwing Group into a more than 300 room property is also in the cards.
The prime minister also announced that the Sandals Group has already received approval for its planned US$120 million upgrade of the Dickenson Bay resort.
In addition to renovations of the existing property, Sandals also plans to increase the resort’s room stock.