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Blue Water Resort plans expansion

Company president calls for timeshare legislation upgrades
Guardian Business Reporter

Published: Oct 29, 2013

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MIAMI, Florida — Timeshare units in the Blue Water Resort at Cable Beach are expected to be sold out by early 2014 and plans to expand the project are underway.

However, a resort executive is calling on the government to update laws relating to timeshare properties if it hopes to attract more investments of this sort, noting that industry stakeholders are aiming to provide recommendations to the government as to what changes are needed.

After pumping in millions of dollars in upgrades the 35-unit timeshare property has been doing “quite well” including its rental business, according to Bert Blicher, its president.

Based on the sales the resort has experienced so far, he revealed that three acres have been purchased for the property’s second phase.

It’s no secret that developers continue to complain that affordable airlift has challenged The Bahamas as a destination.  Blicher stressed though that the price point has actually been a selling point for his property.

“We should be sold out by the first quarter of 2014.  We are doing quite well to the point where we are almost sold out,” he told Guardian Business at the 15th annual Shared Ownership Investment Conference that’s being held at Eden Roc hotel in Miami Beach.

“It’s been great.  We have a great rental business there as well.  This is where owners that can’t come for whatever reason give us permission to rent out their units for them.  We actually have no problems renting units.  People love coming to Nassau, it’s a very popular destination.

“The airfares are really not that expensive in comparison to other places like St. Maarten.  With The Bahamas, you’ve got the closeness to the U.S., it’s a quick getaway.  Plus, there is a lot to do in Nassau,” said Blicher.

Currently, the Blue Water Resort has 24 employees that are all Bahamian.

While business at the property is booming, Blicher admitted to Guardian Business that other developers refuse to bring their brands to The Bahamas because the nation’s timeshare laws need to be updated.  He said this remains the biggest challenge that faces the industry, and as a result it can’t reach its full potential.

“The timeshare laws in The Bahamas need to be updated.  The major thing is that right now you can do a 40-year right-to-use and that’s the maximum.  There is no deeded ownership, anything longer than 40 years.  The major brands are more oriented towards deeded ownership because it’s a better product.  Instead of having it for 40 years, you have a deed, you own it and you can transfer it to other family members.  That’s one of the problems with the laws and that’s why there aren’t many developers in The Bahamas right now,” Blicher said.

“There is a timeshare association in The Bahamas, which I am on the board of along with Baha Mar.  We took the existing law and we marked it up.  We spent a lot of time on what we thought needed to be changed.  Things have been put on hold since the general election.  The reality is that if you take the studies that have been done for an economy, timeshare is great.”

He is calling on the government to take advantage of the benefits that the timeshare industry has to offer as it’s a year-round business and not seasonal like the traditional hotel product.

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