A Q&A with Regional Business Development Director, Youssef Eldessouky
We sat down with Youssef Eldessouky, our Regional Business Development Director for the Middle East based in Dubai, for an in-depth look at what differentiates The Residences at Secret Bay from other Citizenship by Investment projects in the Caribbean. Find Youssef’s insights below.
Considering your extensive experience with second citizenship, what attracted you to work with Secret Bay?
The Residences at Secret Bay is the only Caribbean project offering ready product for Citizenship by Investment. This, paired with the resort’s well-established and excellent reputation in the global hospitality industry, provides a real estate opportunity that is both rare and unrivaled. Plus, investors appreciate that they can visit and experience the private all-villa resort before investing. All in all, Secret Bay is a strong independent brand with international acclaim—and that was something I wanted to be a part of.
What are the recent awards or press garnered by Secret Bay?
Secret Bay has been awarded numerous accolades throughout its years of operation, including recently earning the prestigious Green Globe Certification, being named “World’s Best Boutique Hotel” by Boutique Hotel Awards and becoming the first and only Dominica hotel to be accepted into Relais & Châteaux’s elite collection of niche luxury hotels.
You have been selling the Residences at Secret Bay now for about six months. What have you learned?
Investors prefer something real, existing and operating that they can visit and experience firsthand and immediately earn returns following their investment. Investors have expressed that our competitive exit strategy presents a strong advantage when considering investing in the Caribbean. This makes Secret Bay a real real estate investment with citizenship benefit.
You mentioned a competitive exit strategy, tell us more.
Secret Bay promotes its villas to non-citizenship buyers, known as lifestyle buyers, who are seeking to invest in vacation homes. This means that citizenship investors have the option to sell their interest in Secret Bay to lifestyle buyers after just three years or to citizenship buyers after five years, providing a flexible, more competitive exit strategy.
Secret Bay is not an “international brand.” Has that affected your ability to sell?
No. Secret Bay is an established, award-winning independent brand that is globally-acclaimed, internationally recognised on its own merit and recently accepted into Relais & Châteaux, the most prestigious association of independent luxury hotels in the world. Secret Bay is part of GEMS, which owns and manages hotels that have successfully operated in Dominica for over 30 years. This means that we are committed to Dominica and have the experience and agility to navigate the challenges and ensure the future success of Secret Bay. And further, in the Caribbean, independent brands achieve solid occupancy rates and average daily rates that are significantly higher than competing foreign brands.
Is there a risk of the project not being completed?
No. Secret Bay is already in operation with our existing villas available for investment and The Residences at Secret Bay grows one villa at a time with each newly-constructed villa added to the resort’s rental inventory. We offer secure investment where each villa operates independently once construction is complete, thus mitigating risk of an incomplete project and providing a faster path to returns. This means that citizenship investors are investing into an operating asset with proven rental demand and rental returns.
Why should investors be confident in future financial return?
Secret Bay has a strong track record, with an average 70+ percent historical occupancy rates and showing an 80+ percent growth in its average daily rate since opening its doors as a resort over eight years ago. We expect continued growth in 2020 and beyond, and our investors can look forward to positive financial returns.
What else does Secret Bay offer to potential investors, apart from returns?
Beyond returns, lower risk and a more flexible exit strategy, Secret Bay offers perks that you can really use. Citizenship investors will enjoy villa use and privileged access to the resort’s incomparable six-star services, amenities and experiences one week per annum, along with enrollment in a global exchange program allowing for stays at any of over 11,000 private luxury villas in 90 countries across the globe.
What if an investor does not want to use or exchange their week in Secret Bay?
Owners at Secret Bay are entitled to spend one week per year in their villa, or to exchange that week in a global exchange program for stays at other private luxury properties worldwide. If an investor chooses to forgo these usage options, management will submit their unused week into the rental program where investors will be able to generate more returns.