Bimini’s economic developments are under new management

Sherrick Ellis, assistant administrator for Bimini and Cat Cay talks about how the new developments on Bimini will keep the island from feeling the effects of the global recession. (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).

Bimini, The Bahamas – Signature Deep Sea excursions and casino attractions are the latest addition to Bimini’s development that is now under new management.  Rock Resorts has taken over the island’s resort development.

“Right now, we have all the major hotels in full operation.  We have Bimini Sands on South Bimini.  We have the Big Game Fishing Club, which has recently been opened and is now operating to capacity.  We have Bimini Bay, which has just been turned over to new management from Bimini Bay to Rock Resorts, and at the moment we have other smaller hotels, which are also doing well at this time,” said Sherrick Ellis, assistant administrator for Bimini and Cat Cay.

“Mr. Lee is from Las Vegas and has been with us five weeks and we felt the impact with his presence, as far as being at the helm of the resort.  Now we have the Bimini Big Game Club, which has recently been reopened.  It’s now almost to capacity with full staff.  The Big Game Club is what we call the glue to Bimini.  It was built in the ’60’s.  It attracts the middle class tourists that can afford the rates.  During last year, we had a fruitful season, but the average tourist coming in to the island, we didn’t really have the room space.”

In the last few years, local Biminites protested against the new developments in Northern Bimini because the relationship between residents and resort managers was not amicable.  Since Bimini has been under new management, those issues have been resolved.

“That was solved, but it was actually the natives, the local residents here and the homeowners at Bimini Bay, their relationship with management wasn’t as good with the natives and the homeowners,” said Mr. Ellis.

Residents appeared to oppose the resort’s development that consumed about five sevenths of the island, which made local residents feel excluded from being involved with the development.  However, the issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of both developers and local residents.

“It’s been restored now since Rock International.  We had a few meetings with the new manager, Mr. Lee, who has made a tremendous impact in the community since he came.  He has been involved with the Tourism Board and the environmental part of the community, assisting us with heavy duty equipment, and whatever utilities we need to be assisted with, as far as keeping the island clean,” said Mr. Ellis.

Bimini has always attracted vacationers looking to lose themselves in destination activities such as deep-sea diving and fishing.  However, Local Government also recognised the benefits of supporting the upgrade of hospitality to a luxury standard and offer guests the impression, that even an island in the middle of the ocean can supply all their creature comforts.

“Out of 100 percent of the yachtsmen that return to The Bahamas, 52 percent statistically came in to Bimini.  The other 48 percent was throughout the other parts of The Bahamas,” said Mr. Ellis.

“I’ll give you a figure.  On Memorial Day weekend, we have over 800 yachts legally registered with Immigration and Customs.  During Saturday of that weekend, we had 60 flights.  So during that weekend last May, we had more tourists, more guests, into our island than natives.”

Mr. Ellis said that Bimini has been really successful, even with the crisis period the island has felt no recession.  People have been coming from other islands to seek employment at Bimini Bay and the recent groundbreaking ceremony last month is a sure sign of success for the island’s economy.  Bimini Bay will be equipped with a casino, but not a golf course as originally planned.

“According to the Minister of the Environment, the golf course was supposed to be taken out of the plan.  We just had a groundbreaking on Friday for the new hotel at Bimini Bay.  But I don’t think that a golf course will be involved with that,” said Mr. Ellis.
Bimini Bay Resort Gates: Bimini Bay is now under new management by a company call Rock Resorts International. They will be responsible for building a Ritz Carlton resort with a casino on the northern tip of North Bimini. (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).