x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Caribbean premier visits Dubai for unveiling of St Kitts hotel project

A Dubai developer is set to build a five-star Park Hyatt hotel in St Kitts and Nevis, aiming to entice investors to the project with the opportunity for citizenship in the twin-island Caribbean nation and tax breaks.

Tourism is now the main driver for the economy of St. Kitt's Nevis. stockphoto.com
Tourism is now the main driver for the economy of St. Kitt's Nevis. stockphoto.com

A Dubai developer is set to build a five-star Park Hyatt hotel in St Kitts and Nevis, aiming to entice investors to the project with the opportunity for citizenship and tax breaks in the twin-island Caribbean nation.

Range Developments, a company based in Dubai with projects in Iraq, plans to build the US$200 million (Dh734.6m) hotel on St Kitts with the cost borne by wealthy investors.

Under the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program, investors can pay $400,000 to take a share in the hotel and its profits, and be eligible for full St Kitts and Nevis citizenship.

Citizens of St Kitts and Nevis can travel visa-free to 139 countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada.

St Kitts and Nevis citizens are also not taxed on their income and are exempt from paying taxes on capital gains, gifts and inheritances.

"We have come up with an innovative way of funding this hotel," said Munaf Ali, the chief executive at Range. "We are seeing extremely strong demand from investors from all over the world."

Established in 1984, the country's citizenship programme is one of the oldest of its kind in the world and was endorsed yesterday by Denzil Douglas, the prime minister, who had flown to Dubai for the project announcement.

Mr Douglas said a rigorous application process had to be completed for citizenship to prevent criminals from using the island for fraud or money laundering.

"Tourism has now become the main economic driver of our economy," he said.

The programme allows dual citizenship with any other country, and investors' dependents are also eligible to apply for a St Kitts and Nevis passport.

"St Kitts is one of the most tranquil locations in the Caribbean, and investing in the Park Hyatt hotel project will entitle [investors] and [their] family to apply for citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis," said Mr Ali. The hotel will be built in three phases with a total of 200 hotel rooms and 50 condominium units.

It will be part of a wider community development called Christophe Harbour, being developed by Kiawah Partners of the United States.

The development comprises a superyacht marina, a golf course designed by Tom Fazio and a private beach club.

The first phase is expected to open in December 2014.

"Park Hyatt St Kitts will be designed to provide an intimate, contemporary resort environment, with touches of the local culture," said Pat McCudden, the senior vice president at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.

Investors in the hotel have to hold their shares for five years, after which they can sell to other investors who can also apply for citizenship. More than 600 shares in the project will eventually be issued.

St Kitts and Nevis, which is situated in the Leeward Islands group about 2,000 kilometres south-east of Miami, has a population of 52,000.

rjones@thenational.ae

twitter: Follow and share our breaking business news. Follow us

iPad users can follow our twitterfeed via Flipboard - just search for Ind_Insights on the app.