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  The 350-room luxury Hyatt Regency Curacao Breaks Ground, 
Part of the $104 million Santa Barbara Plantation Project
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WILLEMSTAD, CURAÇAO – December 2005 – The ceremonial groundbreaking of the 350-room luxury Hyatt Regency Curaçao took place on Thursday, December 1, 2005 attended by tourism and hotel officials including Jack Marshall, representative for the shareholders of Santa Barbara Plantation, Chris Smeets, shareholder and driving force behind the project and Nicholas Pritzker, vice-chairman of Global Hyatt Corporation.  Dr. Emsley D. Tromp, President of the Central Bank of the Netherlands Antilles, made opening remarks welcoming the Hyatt and reflecting on the tremendous economic impact the project will have for the island.  
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Ivar Asjes, Curaçao’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Tourism was also in attendance to lend his support for the project, “The ceremonial groundbreaking is a milestone for the island of Curaçao.  This project is a symbol of the growth and prosperity that we have to look forward to as we continue to implement the infrastructure needed to accommodate the growth in tourism to our island.  We welcome the Hyatt family and know it will be a successful union for everyone involved,” commented Asjes.

The ceremony, at which Smeets and Pritzker placed the first shovel in the ground, officially marks the start of the construction of the mixed use Santa Barbara Plantation project.  The project will encompass not only the luxury Hyatt Regency Curaçao hotel, but also as a 30-slip marina, beach club, 52 vacation club units, 128 condominium homes, 106 residential lots and 94 terrace homes.  Additionally, it will include an 18-hole championship golf course, the first signature golf course on the island, designed by top golf architect Peter Dye.  It will be the largest hotel on the island and the first large hotel to open since the Sonesta (which is now a Marriott) was completed in 1992.    This groundbreaking will pave the way for a string of branded properties expected to build on the island, such as Renaissance, Westin and Four Points by Sheraton.  

The Curaçao government supported the initiative with a soft loan of $16 million.  The total investment for the first phase of the project is approximately $104 million.  An estimated 700 people will be employed as a result of this project during its construction and an additional 700 permanent jobs once it is complete.  

“With our continued growth in tourism from the U.S. market, we need the rooms in order to accommodate the increase in visitors.  We expect visitor numbers to continue to climb as steps are put into place to encourage tourism, starting with the launch of a new non-stop flight from Newark to Curaçao on Continental beginning December 17, 2005,” Asjes said.  Completion of the Hyatt Regency Curaçao is planned for late 2007.

Curaçao, located outside of the hurricane belt, boasts an eclectic mix of history and culture, which creates a Caribbean experience like no other. Also known for its eco-tourism and pristine diving conditions, Curaçao attracts the adventure traveler as well as those looking to unwind and enjoy its perfect climate. Visitors to Curaçao will enjoy an 18-hole championship golf course, casinos and much more. American Airlines offers daily flights into Curaçao from Miami.  Contact hotels or travel agents directly for more information. 

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Contact:

1-800-328-7222
www.curacao.com
 

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Also See: Hyatt Corporation and Santa Barbara Hospitality, N.V. Sign Long-term Management Agreement for Hyatt Regency Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino / April 2005
Caribbean Hotel Association Recognizes Individuals that Raise the Bar for Caribbean Hospitality; Eustace Guishard, GM of Cap Juluca Resort in Anguilla Named “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year” / July 2005


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