Royal Caribbean Cruises is creating a 50-50 joint venture called Holistica with Mexican tourism and port development company ITM Group to develop cruise destinations worldwide. The partners have started to search for a chief executive for the new company, which will be based in Miami.
The first project is a proposed US$275 million development in Freeport in the Bahamas based on regeneration of the Grand Lucayan resort. The scheme is currently under review by the Bahamian government. The joint venture also plans to own and operate destinations in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Kumamoto, Japan.
These projects, among others, will serve eight million visitors a year and be accessible to all holidaymakers and passengers of multiple cruise lines. Holistica is also engaged in discussions regarding “multiple existing and proposed destinations around the world”.
Michael Bayley, President and Chief Executive, Royal Caribbean International, said: “The continuing growth and rising popularity of cruise vacations make it clear that the sustainable development of coastal destinations, including the thoughtful evolution of existing ones, is in the travel industry’s best interest.
“We have spent five decades learning what works and what doesn’t, and we know the potential of strategic development to deliver extraordinary guest experiences and meet the needs of local communities. Having more destinations, and developing them in a responsible manner, gives travellers greater vacation quality, and expands the landscape of available travel options as the tourism industry grows.”
Mauricio Hamui, Chief Executive, ITM Group, added: “A well-designed destination brings economic benefits to communities and cultural enrichment to travellers, while creating the least possible disruption to the human and natural environment. There is a way to do these projects inclusively, collaboratively, and sustainably – and those are the characteristics this new partnership is meant to embody.
“The timing is right for a venture of this type. A collaborative development approach, paired with meaningful private financial resources, gives local destinations the opportunity to grow the right way.”