(Trinidad Guardian) The Chinese HNA Group, which has extensive interests in hotels, has been invited to submit a competitive bid to partner with the Government of T&T on the Sandals project once the tender process is initiated.
The invitation to the Chinese Group HNA came on Wednesday on day three of the visit of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and a local delegation to China.
HNA Group is a substantial shareholder in international hotel chains and boasts of being the largest tour operating Company in China.
The Office of the Prime Minister explained that it anticipates that the strategic partnership will allow Trinidad and Tobago to tap into the tourism market in China.
Just last week a Cabinet appointed negotiating team and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young met with the Sandals Resorts International Team lead by Adam Stewart_Deputy Chairman, and discussed the way forward for the Tobago project and the settling of a timeline with milestones for progressing the project.
There was mutual agreement that the project should be given priority.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Rowley and the delegation, which included Minister Young and chairman of Caribbean Airlines Ronnie Mohammed, met with chairman of HNA Group Company Limited Chen Feng in Beijing when the company, which owns over 1,200 aircraft, was also invited to establish code sharing and interline arrangements with Caribbean Airlines.
Mohammed also met with top executives of Air China, who also expressed interest in code sharing and interline arrangements with Caribbean Airlines.
Air China currently operates flights into Havana, Cuba and JFK New York.
The initiatives came two days after the Prime Minister and Premier Li Keqiang announced an ease in visa restrictions between the two countries.
On Wednesday the Prime Minister’s Office said Dr Rowley agreed that once Chinese nationals hold either a United States or Canadian visa then they could also be eligible to travel to Trinidad and Tobago.
It was in line with this decision that the Government moved to establish more direct air links and strategic partnerships with China.
On Wednesday, the Prime Ministerial delegation also visited the Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG) headquarters in Beijing.
BCEG is currently engaged in building the world’s largest airport, the new Beijing International Airport, in China.
Chairman of Lake Asphalt Christopher John Williams delivered a presentation on the quality of T&T’s asphalt and also invited the company to partner with Lake Asphalt in developing and monetizing asphalt bi-products.
Prime Minister Rowley indicated that the properties of T&T asphalt render it the best quality asphalt for paving an airport tarmac.
Following the presentation and discussions the OPM said the Chairman of BCEG expressed interest in obtaining asphalt from Lake Asphalt for the Beijing International Airport.