IDC seeks proposal for eco-tourism development at Grand Barbe on Silhouette |20 September 2022
● Investors should consider aerial transportation as main way of access
Potential investors for tourism development at Grand Barbe, Silhouette, should consider aerial transportation to access that part of the island, said Glenny Savy.
Mr Savy, chief executive of the Islands Development Company (IDC), which manages Silhouette island, made the statement at a press conference yesterday at the company’s headquarters at New Port, when giving more details about an eco-tourism development which is expected to take place on the island soon.
IDC recently published a request for proposal to seek potential investors who would wish to make an expression of interest for the development of a tourism resort at Grand Barbe.
Mr Savy said the company had always been interested to develop that part of the island but they were having difficulties to find interested investors.
“In the past the potential investors who saw that part of the island changed their minds after seeing the place, as they felt it would require a lot in investment based on the type of terrain and the cost that would be associated with the development, since they would have to use helicopter to transport all their material, which they felt were too expensive at the time,” said Mr Savy.
It should be noted that an initial proposal by a company named Universal Group in the early 2000s for such a development was rejected by the government following the environment impact assessment (EIA) process, after it said the proposed road access to link La Passe and Grand Barbe would destroy the virgin rainforest of Silhouette, which is also a protected area.
According to Mr Savy the developer pulled out after considering the construction cost using air transportation.
He said although IDC was not in favour of the decision back then, it had to respect the government’s decision.
“I do not think that if there is another EIA today, the situation would have changed, so it is possible that all access to that part of the island would be done by helicopter transfer, so any potential investor should be aware of that once they present their expression of interest. This comes with a cost so the operator that manages the hotel should be able to tap into a market where people are prepared to pay extra premium to reach the establishment,” said Mr Savy.
IDC said so far a number of both local and international companies have shown interest and it is considering extending the October 9 deadline to a later date, to allow more potential investors to come forward.
The company said the investor will be allowed to build a maximum of 25 rooms and the resort should focus on sustainability, conservation and green energy and embrace the heritage aspects of Grand Barbe.
“It cannot be a big project because of the space availability, the area itself is not a big one. We estimate investment to be around half a million dollars per room, and this includes all infrastructure from construction, to facilities such as sewage treatment, solar energy system and food storage,” added Mr Savy.
IDC said once it receives all expression of interests, it will set up a committee to decide which one is better suited for the project.
The company said if everything goes according to plan, the village would be ready by mid-2024.
Mr Savy was accompanied during the press conference by IDC’s deputy CEO Christian Lionnet.