Caribbean Flourishing Due to Citizenship by Investment
Contributed by CS Global Partners
30 May, 2017
A recent report by Century 21 has revealed that Grenada's real estate market is continuing to grow, with the number of property sales rising in 2016. This was preceded by an increase of 71% in 2015 which totalled US$40.8 million. However, sales in 2016 surpassed that figure and reached over US$50 million.
While this total does not include the figures associated with the Grenada Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, which allows individuals to purchase real estate (often shares of commercial real estate projects such as hotels, resorts, and villas) in exchange for citizenship and a second passport, the real estate sector has certainly profited from Programme-generated interest.
The tourism industry has also seen steady growth, which can also be closely linked to the CBI Programme. The Caribbean region as a whole saw tourist arrivals reach 29 million in 2016, an increase of 4.2% on the previous year that has led tourism development to skyrocket. Tourism in Grenada is further boosted by its new, CBI-sponsored hotel and developments. This is no surprise, as the Grenada CBI Programme is one of the most in-demand worldwide, and provides investors with one of today's most trusted and efficient immigration options. Rising tourist numbers can also be witnessed in other Caribbean nations with strong CBI programmes, such as Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis.
Individuals who opt for CBI programmes can receive a desirable second passport, which allows them to travel the world more freely a right that may have been denied to them in their country of origin. Caribbean passports are some of the least restrictive passports individuals can hold outside of metropolitan countries. Moreover, CBI investors are given the opportunity to have a safer and more prosperous future, with access to better education systems and improved business opportunities.
CBI programmes are also providing Caribbean nations with direct foreign investment. For small island nations, this is a significant percentage of their GDP; leading the government budget to become much improved and match the country's development plans.
A large number of CBI programmes offer investors the opportunity to purchase real estate. In the Caribbean, the real estate projects have been pre-approved and provide investors with the chance to purchase shares in high-end resorts and hotels. These could be at various stages of the build: while some are still being developed, others may be fully finished. As residence is not a requirement of CBI programmes in the Caribbean, individuals are able to immediately invest in real estate, which improves a country's tourism offering.
As an example, the Hilton in Dominica requires a US$200,000 investment, and the Park Hyatt in St Kitts and Nevis requires at least US$400,000. These are two of the most desirable hotel brands in the world and attract visitors year-round, thus boosting tourism numbers to the region. Dominica is also taking care to ensure that the Government only approves projects that are sustainable and cater to the island's green community; promoting ecotourism to another generation of travellers.
The impact of citizenship by investment was perhaps best summed up by this statement on the St Kitts and Nevis Programme, which was recently applauded by Inci Otker, International Monetary Fund Mission Chief. Ms Otker said that "the country's strong economic performance owes a lot to the robust citizenship by investment inflows and their spill-overs to the economy, as well as the overall prudent macroeconomic policies of the government" proving that CBI programmes not only hold their worth when it comes to improving the lives of individual investors and their families, but also those of the people who have grown up in the Caribbean.
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