Magdalena up for sale is no surprise

Tobago


Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA) vice-president Carol-Ann Birchwood James –

THE recent tender for the sale of the Magdalena Grand came as no surprise to Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association, said vice president of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association Carol-Ann Birchwood James on Friday.

Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development Company Ltd (e-TecK) issued a tender inviting expressions of interest for an internal operator, investor or purchaser for the Government owned beach and golf resort, the Magdalena Grand.

The deadline for tenders is May 18 at 4 pm.

“We know they were looking for fresh operators and buyers for the Magdalena Grand for quite some time. It is always a fluid situation there,” Birchwood-James said.

The hotel, one of the more well-known hotels in Tobago, was knocked for structural damage, rusted gym equipment and serving mouldy food by visitors who came to the hotel as early as March.

One visitor, Jade Gibbs, recorded structural damage, a caved-in roof and mouldy food, and posted the video on Tik Tok, which received more than 100,000 views.

In October last year Government started a $50 million initiative to assist hotels and other businesses in the accommodation industry which were affected by covid-19. Birchwood-James said that the association has estimated that hotels and accommodation-based businesses have utilised about $28 million from the initiative.

She said the state-owned hotel was tight lipped about its performance during covid19.

“This is one of the questions that the public has been asking, not only about the Magdalena, but the Hyatt and the Hilton,” she said. “These are three hotels owned by the State and the public has not seen any audited statements from them as far as I know.”

She said although the hotel is part of the association, all they know is the hotel is up and running.

Newsday asked Vinod Bajaj, general manager of the resort, who said everything was “fine.”

“The hotel is running well, the staff is good. Everything is fine,”

He said business continues as normal despite the invitation to tender for the hotel, and added that the hotel lost no staff during the pandemic.

“It has been business as normal,” he said. “Of course, we didn’t have any business, but the hotel was running well.”


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