Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Investindustrial, which owns PortAventura theme park, joins ‘BCN World’ by building 3,000 hotel rooms


Salou (ACN).- On Wednesday, the Italian investment group Investindustrial announced that it will build and manage 3,000 of the 6,000 hotel rooms of the ‘BCN World’ mega resort, the competitor to Madrid’s Eurovegas that is being developed by Veremonte in Salou, in Catalonia’s Costa Daurada. The $6 billion entertainment resort will be located next to the beach and to the PortAventura theme park, which has been owned by Investindustrial since 2009. After a year of talks, the Italian company has finally decided to join the mega resort project, which will have casinos, luxury shops, restaurants, convention centres, theatres, golf courses, beach clubs, hotels, parks and a broad smart city residential area. Investindustrial will build and run 1 hotel of 500 rooms in each of the 6 hotel areas of ‘BCN World’, which are distributed along a large avenue. The 6 hotels run by the Italian group will total 3,000 rooms and will mainly target families. In fact, the CEO of ‘BCN World’, Xavier Adserà, emphasised the importance of bringing a company expert in family tourism into the project, in order to strengthen this dimension. Adserà also confirmed that ‘BCN World’ will begin building in the first half of 2014, employing 17,000 people in the construction. A few months ago, Veremonte announced the first partner of the project, which will be in charge of developing the first of the six hotel resorts. Melià, through its luxury brand ME, will build a 1,100-room hotel. The UK company Value Retail, which manages shopping malls throughout the world, will be running the luxury shops on offer. Finally, the Chinese casino group Melco Crown Entertainment will run the first mega casino in ‘BCN World’. Once unveiled, this first phase will create 5,000 direct jobs. Besides, the Catalan Minister for the Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, confirmed that the Catalan Parliament will have approved the town planning project and the new gambling legislation before the end of the year, in order to enable the construction of the resort to start in early 2014.

Investindustrial, which already manages 2,000 hotel rooms in PortAventura, will start building the first of the 6 new hotels in a plot of land which is part of the ‘BCN World’ project but immediately next to the theme park. As Xavier Adserà explained, the new 500-room hotel will act as a natural bridge between the two resorts, connecting them and setting a geographic continuity that should enable people to easily transit from ‘BCN World’ to PortAventura and vice-versa. Therefore, Investindustrial will build its first hotel next to Melià’s luxury 1,100-room hotel, the shopping area managed by Value Retail and the Melco Crown’s casino. Therefore, the first phase of ‘BCN World’ already has 1,600 hotel rooms, the construction of which will start in a few months. The entire $6 billion mega resort will have a total of 6,000 hotel rooms once the project is fully completed.

A project that changes the “tourist landscape”

The CEO of Investindustrial in Spain, Carlo Bonomi, emphasised the company’s commitment to Catalonia and the area of Tarragona, where PortAventura and ‘BCN World’ are located. Bonomi explained that talks with Veremonte on joining the mega resort have been ongoing for an entire year because they wanted to “calmly” study the project. Bonomi also highlighted how they feel very “comfortable” with the rest of the partners, since they are all “leaders” in their own sectors. The CEO of Investindustrial also emphasised that ‘BCN World’ will change the “tourist landscape” of the Costa Daurada and the areas of Tarragona, Salou and Vila-seca.

Xavier Adserà, CEO of Veremonte, stressed how Investindustrial and the company he leads have “gone from being neighbours to partners”, since as of Wednesday “they are walking together” with the ‘BCN World’ project. Adserà justified the incorporation of the Italian group by stressing the good management of the PortAventura theme park since 2009 and the need to have a partner expert in family tourism. This way, Investindustrial will help Veremonte to organise an alternative entertainment programme for families visiting the mega resort.

‘BCN World’ does not request any legislation changes

In addition, Adserà explained that ‘BCN World’ is a totally private project, which does not need public grants or the construction of transport infrastructures, since they already exist. In addition, “the project does not need any change in any law, either regarding health issues – since the project will fully respect Spain’s tobacco consumption law – or regarding labour issues” he stated in a clear reference to Eurovegas. The project developed in Madrid by the casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and Las Vegas Sands Corporation is demanding the modification of the anti-tobacco law in order to allow people to smoke in the casinos. In addition, Adelson is also requesting changes in labour legislation to make working conditions more precarious in order to have a cheaper labour force. Adserà had already announced months ago that ‘BCN World’ will totally respect the European labour legislation, as well as the concern for healthcare.

On top of this, Veremonte’s CEO stated that the Catalan project will be environmentally friendly and will make “an additional effort” to protect especially sensitive areas. Finally, he also emphasised that ‘BCN World’ will create many jobs. The construction of its first phase alone will generate 17,000 jobs, 10,000 of which will be direct positions. Once this first phase is up and running, 5,000 people will be hired directly, and the 5 other phases will still have to be built.

The Catalan Parliament will give the project a green light before the end of the year

In the presentation of the partnership with Investindustrial, the Catalan Minister for the Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, explained that the definitive approval of the town-planning project of the mega resort is about to be approved by the Catalan Parliament. In addition, the modifications regarding gambling taxation and tourist centres are also in the final stage of their parliamentary approval. All things considered, Mas-Colell confirmed that all the legal requirements will be totally complete before the end of the year, therefore allowing the construction to start as soon as early 2014.

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  • portaventura_shambhala_roller_coaster

  • The unveiling ceremony of a new attraction at PortAventura's adjacent water park, called Costa Caribe (by PortAventura / ACN)
  • The Shambhala roller coaster, a new attraction unveiled last Spring in PortAventura (by R. Segura)