Royal Caribbean, ITM Group Launch Holistica, Plan Hotel Development

MIAMI—Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) and ITM Group are teaming to form a new destination company, to be called Holistica. Part of the development will include the creation of new hotels.

Holistica will create an inclusive model for destination development that works holistically—thus the name—to meet the needs of coastal communities, local governments, and land, sea and air travelers.

“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,” said Michael Bayley of RCL. “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.”

Mauricio Hamui of ITM Group said: “A well-designed destination brings economic benefits to communities and cultural enrichment to travelers, 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.”

Holistica Destinations Ltd. will be a 50/50 partnership between RCL and ITM Group. The partners have commenced a search for a CEO for the new company, which will be headquartered in Miami.

Holistica’s first project will be a $275-million development in Freeport, The Bahamas; it was originated by RCL and ITM and is currently under review by the Bahamian government. Centered on the regeneration of the Grand Lucayan hotel resort, the project includes plans for local ownership, employment, job training, community investment and sustainable construction practices. It has been reported that the development will include three new hotels.

In addition to the Freeport project, the companies said the new venture will own and operate destinations in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Kumamoto, Japan. These projects, among others, will serve eight million visitors annually, and be accessible to all travelers, including land and air vacationers and guests of multiple cruise lines. Holistica is also engaged in discussions regarding multiple existing and proposed destinations around the world.

“The timing is right for a venture of this type,” said Hamui. “A collaborative development approach, paired with meaningful private financial resources, gives local destinations the opportunity to grow the right way.”

Added Bayley: “Having more destinations, and developing them in a responsible manner, gives travelers greater vacation quality, and expands the landscape of available travel options as the tourism industry grows.”

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