International Holdings Corp., developers of the luxurious fantasy island project Puerto Azul, are switching visions for their resort in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, according to the Hon. Godwin Hulse in an interview with TV 7 News Belize.
Hulse heard a presentation from the from the developers last week, as chairman of the Cabinet Investment Subcommittee. Apparently the developers are downplaying their plans for a hyper-luxurious refuge and playground for One Percenters.
Hulse is quoted as saying that the developers now want to turn the islands into some kind of “events” facility, “one of those facilities which will bring the Emmy Awards and those kinds of fancy things that happen around the world where people have no problem paying fifty thousand or one hundred thousand dollars to come.”
Let’s assume there are enough global events to which the very rich would be willing to drop $100,000 to attend, Hulse’s example, the Emmy Awards, presumably gleaned from the developers’ presentation, is not one of them.
Nor would the Oscars, nor the Grammy Awards, nor the MTV Video Awards nor Peoples’ Choice Awards nor … trust me, over my years as a newspaper writer I covered nearly all of these awards. The number of people attending who could or would drop $100,000 to attend these is very very small.
There is a reason these things are held mostly in Los Angeles and New York. These are company towns for the entertainment industry. And the media that ensure their existence. And a lot of the people who attend these awards ceremonies? They aren’t all that rich. They just try to look like it.
So what other events would draw super big spenders to a remote island in the Caribbean? An international polo championship? Maybe. The NBA finals? Perhaps, if the Lakers are playing and they can find enough celebrity and hip-hop fans to fill the seats.
The Miss Universe Pageant? The grand finale of “Dancing With the Stars” or “So You Think You’ve Got Talent”? Seriously?
How about the unveiling of a new luxury yacht line? Um, I think we’re talking about the personalized custom yacht crowd here. A high end fashion show or the unveiling of a new Longines, Rolex, Bvlgari or Cartier watch or a new line of Gucci or Prada sunglasses.
Maybe, just maybe, if the Rolling Stones and The Who play one last concert and promise to never ever tour again — maybe, you could fill the seats with $100,000 ticket holders.
Wait. I’ve got it.
Why not the most exclusive and sophisticated anti-aging and wellness facility in the entire world? This would be the perfect spot for aging trophy wives to shave the pounds, lose the wrinkles and regenerate the libido while luxuriating in the most inconceivably exclusive Paradisaical setting.
The titans of software, finance and entertainment could drop in for hair transplants, face lifts, prostate surgery and heart transplants. Yes they have hearts. Don’t be mean. As they recover, they could be treated to financial workshops on how to safely bury your money offshore — still possible — and legal tax evasion, and a survey of Cuban cigars.
Don’t misunderstand me. I believe with all my heart that the very richest among us should have places to congregate and play together, even if they have to drop $100,000 to do it. But are they so short on playgrounds that a new one must be carved out of these remote and fragile cayes in a most pristine part of Belize?
Two words that you never see combined are “large-scale” and “luxury.”
Luxury — real luxury — is small scale, and exclusive, like a hand-made Swiss watch. The economics of Puerto Azul seem to dictate that you would have to be channeling through a lot of people willing to drop $100,000 a whack for a fairly brief good time.
Call me skeptical but I don’t believe there are enough world-class, high-end “events” in the world to sustain a development like this.
I can’t wait to read their feasibility study.