Exec say Landings on firm ground!

The Landings is open for business to locals and visitors alike.

The Landings is open for business to locals and visitors alike.

Recently the nation’s prime minister announced during an address that the Landings Resorts is in receivership. But general manager Lyle Pauls tells a totally different story. In an interview, part of which featured in Wednesday’s STAR, he told us that the resort recorded its best year yet and is doing quite well.

“It is wonderful news to know that this is the first profitable year the hotel has ever had,” said Pauls. “Our overall revenues will be more than double last year’s. We now have 200 employees working full time, getting full shifts and since we are not all-inclusive we are happy to see the spins-off from our success, taxi operators, the restaurants and the bars that our clients patronize and so on.”

Despite the high cost of operations and its having to service some old debts, the   Landings management is optimistic about the future. However, there are some recommendations they would like to make to the tourism authorities

“Insurance and utilities are two of our biggest costs,” said Landings’ executive director Oliver Gobat, who considers it “really important that there be some restructuring of utility costs, particularly electricity.”  He said he also wanted to dispel the myth that hoteliers were rolling in the money. “Particularly over the last five years,” said Gobat, “some of us have barely broken even. Others have closed shop.”

Gobat would like to see an increase in airlift to the island and more emphasis on
outside amenities and attractions for visitors.  He would like to see a nicer, cleaner, smarter Rodney Bay area, or wherever is going to be a tourist hub, with better lighting and pavements. “In fact, I think the whole island needs a little tidying up, with better roads and signs. We desperately need to get a handle on crime.”

The Landings is managed and operated by an entity called the Body Corporate,  Control of that board was given to the home owners by a court order effective April 1, 2012.  “All the accommodations at the Landings are owned by the home owners who invested US$150 million plus in the resort. They got it built.

The development company, the Landings Limited, was charged with building all these homes. That company entered into receivership but what has been built to date runs as an entirely separate entity managed by this Body Corporate. It is therefore entirely unaffected.”

So how did the rumors of receivership get started? “The word is one that people don’t like to hear,” said Gobat. “They get quite worried and so while I understand why people would associate the Landings and its development company with the resort’s operations, it is entirely incorrect. I think it was simply a mistake on the part of the prime minister and we want to say categorically that The Landings   is running very, very well and that our accommodations are full right now. We are having a record year.”

According to Gobat misinformation like what was put out by the prime minister can affect their various vested interests and parties, including operators and agents. “Obviously the home owners too,” he said. “When they hear about this, and although they are well informed, they get very concerned since they put a lot of money into this. Staff are also affected. They assume the Landings may be shutting down. Suppliers get jittery. So we really want to make it clear to all with a vested interest that all is going well at the Landings.”

The Landings management has written to the prime minister to clarify the resort’s status. The Minister of Tourism as well as the SLHTA have also been written to on the matter.

The Landings was built just over five years ago and is located at Pigeon Island. The family luxury accommodation boasts 140 villas, with three main swimming pools, two restaurants, two bars and its own marina.

Pauls had the last word: “We offer all of our guests, including Saint Lucians, a true Caribbean experience in a five-star luxurious setting. We are proud to be a part of the Saint Lucian product and to be working with so many wonderful people.”

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