On in episode, Plan B’s host Aisha Mohammed speaks to Travel + Leisure
magazine’s pick for the best resort in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas: Secret Bay! Gregor Nassief, the resort’s owner, joins us all the way from Dominica.
Learn More about Secret Bay
Aisha Mohamed: Secret Bay is no doubt a beautiful property, and Travel + Leisure has also recognized it to be #1 in the region. What does this mean for Secret Bay and Dominica’s CBI investors?
Well, it means that they have the opportunity to invest in a globally acclaimed property resort with a track record of many years of success. And with this recent news. We obviously feel that we are going from strength to strength.
[Investors are] essentially investing in villas that are already built and are in creating and are in high demand from both the rental and investment perspective. It’s always important for citizens to keep in mind that Secret Bay shares of villas are also being sold to non-citizenship buyers, which gives citizenship shareholders a more flexible exit strategy.
AM: How do CBI investors get a return on their investment when they select Secret Bay as their real estate option for the programme?
: Well, they are investing in an existing villa that is already generating rental income from guests and as owners, they’re entitled to share in that income, and we pay out financial returns to shareholders every three months. So, the model is one whereby the manager and the shareholders/owners share the income are able to profit from the rental of the villas on a quarterly basis.
AM: Dominica is a lush island and is working towards being the world’s first climate-resilient nation. Can you tell us more about how eco-friendly practices in infrastructure and daily operation are implemented at Secret Bay? How important is eco-friendliness for Secret Bay?
: So, Secret Bay was very proud last year to earn green global certification and that was for our green and sustainable practices. And we are the only CBI project throughout the region to have gained such certification. Sustainability is at the heart of everything that we do. A few examples include the reuse of wastewater for drip irrigation, the notion of single use plastic throughout the property, and a low carbon footprint.
AM: Dominica seems to have recovered well from the pandemic with zero deaths and 18 confirmed cases, all of which have recovered. But with the tourism and hospitality industry broadly at a halt, how has Secret Bay been affected?
Dominica has done a really great job in managing the pandemic and we believe this will make the destination more desirable once the borders reopen, which is expected in the next few weeks. Very interestingly, there is also a surge in demand for resorts like Secret Bay where each villa is on its own separate parcel of land with private pools and also dedicated staff as opposed to the traditional clustered hotel room structures. So, while our operation has been posed by covid, we look forward to starting back operations.
AM: We heard about the building of a Phase 2 of Secret Bay which is to be completed in November. Can you tell us a bit more about that and how the island’s CBI Programme plays a part in the expansion?
: Sure. We are completing four of our next 16 villas which are part of phase two and they will be unveiled in November of this year with the rest to follow in 2021. As with all of the villas at Secret Bay, they will be really spectacular with great ocean and mountain views. We are very excited to unveil them soon. Dominica’s CBI program has enabled us to expand the shared ownership structure and investment is used to expand Secret Bay. Likewise, non-citizenship investors are also investing at Secret Bay which again provides a more flexible exit strategy for both citizenship and non-citizenship owners at Secret Bay.
AM: Can you please explain to listeners the difference between the Residences at Secret Bay and Secret Bay?
: Sure. All of the villas at Secret Bay, those already built and those that will be built in the future, are part of the residences and are available for sale to both citizenship and non-citizenship investors. So, from a villa perspective, there is no difference. The residences at Secret Bay is simply the shared ownership model being implemented by Secret Bay in order to sell fractional or whole ownership.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.