During a RIF Trust-led webinar on September 7 to discuss the benefits of Dominican citizenship by investment, the CEO of Dominica’s CBI-approved Secret Bay announced that as part of phase two of the award-winning eco resort’s development, four new two-storey villas would be ready by November 1, 2020.
The four new two-storey villas, which mark the beginning part of phase two and will be unveiled in November, joining six existing Secret Bay villas, will feature floor-to-ceiling glass walls, private plunge pools and outdoor rain showers, reflecting both the resort’s and Dominica’s eco-conscious philosophy.
It is such a philosophy that has propelled the Caribbean nation of Dominica into the global spotlight with its claims to being the Caribbean’s most eco-conscious island and commitment to becoming the world’s first climate-resilient nation.
And this was at the forefront of a discussion held in a webinar on September 8, when one of the Middle East’s leading residency and citizenship advisory firms RIF Trust hosted a panel of Dominican citizenship experts, including Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and the CEO of Secret Bay, Gregor Nassief, and discussed the benefits of both Dominican citizenship and investment in Secret Bay Resort.
Known as the Nature Island, with its lush vegetation, rich rainforests and investment in clean energy, Dominica – which has just emerged as the world’s best CBI Programme (CBI Index 2020) for the fourth consecutive year, offers foreigners, via its CBI programme, the chance to live somewhere that delivers long life expectancy, good health and an excellent quality of life.
And this spotlight on sustainability and embracing of eco-friendliness extends to the country’s developments too, with the Dominican government approving all properties for investment as part of Dominica’s CBI Programme.
“Whatever investment properties we develop, we want them to maintain the true nature of our country,” Dominica’s PM Roosevelt Skerrit announced during the webinar.
The secrets of Secret Bay
And Secret Bay certainly does just that. Built around nature with its rainforest location, utilising only local craftsmanship, and with all villas built using only sustainably sourced tropical hardwoods, “this project is centred around the environmental preservation of the island, and this is so important to us”, PM Skerrit told the webinar audience.
Owned and managed by GEMS Holdings Limited, which also owns and manages various hotels that have been operating successfully throughout Dominica for the past three decades, including Dominica’s landmark Fort Young Hotel, “GEMS is committed to Dominica and has the experience and agility to navigate the challenges and ensure successful operation for the future”, Gregor Nassief, CEO of Secret Bay, added.
Following a flood of accolades, the six star Secret Bay was recently named Number One Resort in the Caribbean and Number Six Resort in the world by Travel + Leisure’s 2020 World’s Best Awards, marking the first time a CBI investment real estate project has been awarded top marks in the world’s leading travel awards.
Financial gains of investment in Secret Bay
As an existing development with eight years of operation under its six-star belt, Secret Bay has a long track record of rental demand and returns, which means “citizenship investors can look forward to immediate income from day one”, explained Youssef. “With Secret Bay, you are investing in an existing villa which has a history of financial performance, so from day one, you are entitled to financial returns from your investment.”
In fact, the villas sold to date have witnessed strong occupancy with rates of 70%+ per annum generating immediate returns to citizenship investors with impressive rental returns of US$900 per night and up to $1,300 per night at high season (this has grown from US$500 per night eight years ago).
These aren’t the only financial gains to be had from investing in Secret Bay via citizenship, however. According to Gregor, investors enjoy privileged access to Secret Bay for one week annually, rotating between high season and low season. Alternatively, they can exchange this week for a week in a serviced villa in another country (with a choice of 11,000 villas in 90 countries) by utilising the resort’s partnership with Third Home, or can choose the financial returns for that week instead.
When it comes to re-sell, investors can either sell their investment to a citizenship investor after three years or to a non-citizenship investor after five years, with Secret Bay helping investors in the re-sell process.
“We work with 50 agents globally, from the Middle East and Africa to China and Europe,” Gregor explained during the webinar, adding “we are an existing group with long-standing success, offering a flexible exit strategy for investors”.
Delivering villas priced between US$1.5 million and US$4 million, there are four phases to the development with phase one complete; phase two handing over four new villas on November 1, 2020, before completing during 2021; phase three delivering three clifftop villas and 17 waterfront villas; and phase four of just three villas cliffside.
Villas designed for social distancing
The entire six-star resort is made up of standalone luxury villas, enveloped in a rainforest-rich embrace, with each villa delivering an artful fusion of high design and local craftsmanship composed entirely of sustainably sourced hardwoods. While one villa may be clifftop, another waterfront, each freestanding retreat features expansive indoor and outdoor living spaces, inclusive of private plunge pools, gourmet kitchens, covered terraces and breathtaking ocean views.
“Designed for social distancing before it became popular, our private villas boast their own parcel of land, private pool and dedicated staff, so we can bring the resort facilities – dining, spa, gym and wellness activities – to guests in their own villas,” explains Gregor, adding that all excursions are with private tour guides and a StayWell programme has been launched to ensure resort-wide sanitisation.
“Secret Bay is very much focused on the privacy of our guests and on providing the best service and amenities, with access to three beaches and with villas offering spectacular views of the sea, rainforests and mountains,” Gregor stated.
The real beauty from an investor point of view, however, is that “you’re investing in a project that is already built and successfully functioning, though we continue to expand”, explained Gregor. “Whenever an investor chooses to invest, we have already built what they’re investing in, there’s no waiting for the project to be completed, which is a significant advantage.”
Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme
The second longest running CBI Programme in the industry (after Saint Kitts), at 27 years old, Dominica’s CBI Programme has, in recent years, become known as one of the world’s most efficient and transparent CIPs, combining extensive due diligence with efficiency, speed, affordability and reliability.
Offering rapid relocation, with just 45-60 days application processing times, and the cheapest CBI cost at US$100,000 (along with Saint Lucia and Antigua & Barbuda), Dominica’s CBI programme is not just competitive, it’s winning.
As the latest CBI Index 2020 (issued by a Financial Times publication and released on September 7), declares, with Dominica once more emerged with the top score (90%), making it the world’s best programme, combining as it does the balance of “an excellent reputation for meeting the needs of investors with strong due diligence, minimum investment outlay, efficient processing, and a renewed focus on family reunification”.
From its affordability (it is currently the cheapest option) to its speed of processing (two months) and family friendliness (Dominica recently expanded the scope for eligible dependents), not to mention that Dominica has increased the power of its passport (with China set to join) giving citizens even more freedom of movement.
Recently, Dominica extended its ‘dependent’ clause in its CBI Programme to include a wider range of family members, including grandparents and adopted siblings.
In terms of citizenship by investment options, investors can either make a non-refundable donation of US$100,000 if single and US$200,000 for a family of four to Dominica’s Economic Diversification Fund (EDF), or make a real estate investment in a government-approved property, like Secret Resort, of minimum US$200,000 and can re-sell after three to five years of receiving citizenship, dependent upon purchase and re-sell.
Find out more about Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme with our country profile by clicking here