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Sunday, April 20, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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US$1.5m amusement park in Chaguaramas
Investors are being sought for two major tourism projects being spearheaded by the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA)—an amusement park and family entertainment centre in Chaguaramas and an ecotourism resort on Chacachacare Island. InvesTT recently sent out proposals for investment in the two projects which are part of ongoing development activities on Trinidad’s northwestern peninsula.
The amusement park, which is estimated to cost US$1.5 million, is to be located within a water park compound and will be part of an extended pedestrian zone with facilities for shopping, play, entertainment, live performances, fun sports and dining. The site will also provide park-and-ride facilities.
The entertainment centre will house indoor games, laser tag, soft-play balls, bumper cars and other activities, as well as offices, party rooms and concession areas. Attractions planned for the amusement park include a merry-go-round, ferris wheel, round swing, and other rides. There will also be water-park activities, including water slides, swimming pools, wave pools and a lazy river. A shallow water moat will separate the park from the surrounding areas and access will be via tram, sidewalk or a lay-by off the main road.
The plan is for a facility designed around themes indigenous to T&T. According to the proposal put out by InvesTT, the project is intended to fill a gap in amusement facilities in the country. There are no amusement parks on either Trinidad or Tobago.
Incentives being offered to investors include a tax exemption of up to seven years on gains or profits from the approved project; tax exemption on the sale of the project, villas or condos, which are part of the project; accelerated depreciation of equipment used in the project; capital allowance in respect of new projects or expansion of existing projects; carry-over from a tax exempt period, if any, of a loss arising out of the operation or renting of an approved tourism project; and customs duty at the reduced rate of ten per cent where a licence is obtained for importation of vehicles.
Equity investors or joint venture partner are being sought. InvesTT said the ideal investor “must be able to access financing independently.” For the resort project on Chacachacare Island, the largest and most westerly of three islands situated off the Chaguaramas peninsula, the plan is to construct an ecotourism resort.
InvesTT said: “The property comprises 392.6 hectares of terrain including lush, tropical rainforest. The island is home to a natural salt-water pond and seven beaches which attract divers, campers and sea bathers alike. The main bay can accommodate several ocean liners simultaneously. The existing infrastructure includes a paved road, a docking facility, as well as a jetty.”
Chacachacare at one time housed a leprosarium, as well as a base for US soldiers. The remains of several antique structures including a hospital, doctors’ and nurses’ quarters, as well as a cemetery are still there. A lighthouse, built in 1896, is still in operation and affords visitors spectacular panoramic views.
Investors will design, finance, build, operate and maintain the proposed facility through a lease of 30 years and the CDA has the full authority to grant an option renewal for a further 30 years. An important condition is preservation of the environment and the island’s historic sites. Proposals “must take into consideration and reflect the unique environmental sensitivities of the Chacachacare habitat,” InvesTT said.
Prospective investors have been told that the advantages to investing in T&T include a cost structure that is one of the most competitive in the Caribbean, including relatively low energy and utility costs. Other perks are:
• The evolution of T&T as a regional business, financial, diplomatic and judicial hub
• A full range of support services—IT, telecoms, construction, training, business and accounting, research and testing
• An investment grade credit rating by Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s
• World-class construction companies, ancillary services (surveying, valuation, design) and utilities
• A location south of the hurricane belt, making Trinidad one of the safest harbours for yachts and boats. Currently, there is a large yachting population located on the peninsula making the area ripe for development
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