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Billionaires who vacation in the Caribbean

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 1 March 2021 | 0 Comments

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1 March 2021

The richest people on Earth are discerning about where they holiday. With everything at their disposal, anything and anywhere is possible - yet for many billionaires all over the world the Caribbean is the ultimate retreat.

With an estimated total net worth of $8 trillion, the 2,095 Billionaires in the world can afford   to choose to spend their holidays is blissful paradise. They often crave the sumptuous luxury of barefoot anonymity, where the beauty of nature steals the show. They long for tranquility, peaceful restfulness in a laid-back style where friendly charm and Calypso rhythms set the pace. Little wonder so many billionaires opt for the Caribbean: a place where even the world’s wealthiest people enjoy Earth’s riches - the simplest things in life. 

Though he is best known as CEO and co-founder of Tesla, Elon Musk is also CEO, leader designer, and founder of SpaceX; CEO and founder of Neuralink; and founder of The Boring Company and the richest man on Earth. With an estimated net worth of $197 billion, the 50 year old Musk was born to a Canadian mother and South African father and raised in Pretoria, South Africa. He has talked openly about his love of travel and has committed sizeable investment to futuristic travel innovations, such as Hyperloop is a concept developed in collaboration with Space X which Musk calls the "fifth mode" of transport in addition to cars, planes, boats, and trains. A Twitter post in 2020 referred to an upcoming visit to the Caribbean.

Another affluent superpower with a love of travel is China’s Pony Ma. By far the wealthiest person in China, the Chinese billionaire was born Ma Huateng in 1971 and has climbed steadily through the tech world to amass a net worth of US$62.9 billion. As the founder and CEO of Tencent, one of the world’s largest technology companies, best known for WeChat messaging app and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds - China’s Facebook and Google equivalent - where according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, in 2011, it became the first Chinese company to pass the US$500 billion stock market valuation mark, overtaking Facebook. Today, Tencent’s market capitalisation currently hovers over $509.7 billion - not bad for a guy who once earned just $US120 per month.

Nigeria has a wealth of 21st centaurs billionaires, but IghoSanomi is one of the youngest: a businessman, geologist, public speaker and philanthropist with business interests in oil, power, logistics, telecommunications, the maritime industry, aviation and real estate. Having emerged on the global corporate scene as a young visionary of note and the Founder and Chairman of the Taleveras Group, Sanomi’s became a powerful corporate player long before he clocked up three decades. He has a reputation as a tough fuel-oil negotiator with an innate thing for the oil and gas sector—that he crafted the Taleveras Group from his numerous business activities in 2004, and has since grown it into the stellar energy-trading company it is today. Sanomi’s philanthropy has benefitted a long list of non-profit enterprises and ventures, all primed towards aiding others from one disadvantage or the other, financially and health-wise, including supporting bowel cancer research in the UK. Like others in the Nigerian oil elite, he has a palatial £28.5 million home in London’s exclusive St. John's Wood. Sanomi also has interests in a British Virgin Island-registered company and, as well as a Nigerian passport, has a passport from the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts & Nevis.

He has a string of celebrity pals, including Leonard d Caprio and John Travlota to Kate  Wimslet - all of whom share his love of the Caribbean isles.

China has poured billions into the Caribbean by investing in ports, roads and a five-star resort - Barbados alone has received US490-million - and billionaire business magnate Wang Jianlin is right at the heart of the action. As the founder of Dalian Wanda Group, China’s largest real estate development company and world’s biggest cinema operator, Jianlin owns 15 per cent the Spanish football club Atletico Madrid. In 2016, he reached a deal with FIFA to launch the China Cup. Jianlin enjoys international travel and spends time in the Caribbean and the UK, where his was raised and educated attending Winchester School and the Universal College London.

Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon, the world's largest retailer, and founder of Blue Origin, has an estimated net worth is $182 billion. And when he proposed to former news anchor girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, there was only one place to do - on the beautiful Caribbean island of St Bart. Bezos, spent some of the $321 million per day he earns (that’s roughly $3,715 per second) on an enormous sparkling heart-shaped diamond ring. Jeff Bezos founded e-commerce colossus Amazon in 1994 out of his garage in Seattle. He runs it as CEO and owns an 11.1% stake. He divorced his wife MacKenzie in 2019 after 25 years of marriage and transferred a quarter of his Amazon stake to her as part of the settlement.

Carlos Slim may not have the profile of a celebrity, but he didn’t rank as the richest person in the world from 2010 to 2013.  Though he has slipped in the rankings, largely due to Trump’s trade reviews with México, he is still in the Top 5 with a fortune of around $48.1 billion. The Mexican business magnate, investor and philanthropist derived his fortune from extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso. In 2009 he rescued the New York Times with a massive financial package and has plans to enter the Caribbean communications company, Colombus which has 24 locations throughout the Caribbean region. As the owner of América  Movil,  the deal would solidify Carlos Slim’s position as the largest telecom provider in the Americas. Besides strengthening its presence in Jamaica, it would give him a strong presence as a pay TV provider in the Bahamas, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago.

Philanthropist Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, the largest software company in the world, devotes his life to co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His multi-million-dollar superyacht is often seen in Caribbean waters and Gates also owns a super-swanky private hotel at Pinney Beach on the island of Nevis - just a couple of ways he spends his estimated $132 billion fortune.

Salma Hayek Pinault isn’t any “ordinary” Oscar-nominee star, despite being one of most famous Latina actors in Hollywood, for the “Frida” movie queen and successful co-producer has been married to multi-billionaire François-Henri Pinalut. Hayek (net worth c$85 million) has been married to Pinalut (net worth about $23.9 billion) for over a decade. The couple often holiday in St Barts and joined New Year's Eve celebrations at Roman Abramovich's exclusive party there - the hottest ticket in town.

Another billionaire with a fondness for the Caribbean is Bernard Arnault chairman and CEO of LVMH, the world's largest luxury goods business, and chairman of its holding company, Christian Dior SE. With an estimated net worth of $150 billion. LVMH have an indelible imprint on the fashion industry — on account of the sheer scale of the company's acquisitions and continuing profitability. In addition to LVMH, Arnault oversees further investment and holding vehicles. Groupe Arnault has invested in Netflix and Blue Capital and also took a major stake in French food chain Carrefour. He has also invested in and a variety of other online ventures, as well as buying Princess Yachts outright. According to Forbes, Arnault is the richest man in Europe and fourth-richest in the world - he owns the super-luxurious 333-ft Symphony yacht, beautifully styled as you’d expect from the man behind Louis Vuitton, and often see wintering in St Barths.

Though he has experienced a decline in fortunes recently, Australian businessman James Packer still has a net worth of $3.7 billion dollars and as the son of media mogul Kerry Packer and the grandson of Frank Packer, he is rarely out of the media spotlight. Packer is the chairperson of Crown Limited which is one of Australia's biggest entertainment and resort groups, which attracts over 25 guests per year. Packer has made the Forbes Australia's 40 Richest list as #1 in 2006, 2007, and 2009 and remains in the top three - yet is almost as famous for his wives and girlfriends - he was married to models Johdi Meares and Erica Baxter and in January 2016 became engaged to pop singer Mariah Carey - though this was short-lived. Packer hosted lavish New Year's celebrations in the French Caribbean 2021 aboard his $200million superyacht IJE.

Russian business tycoon Andrey Melnichenko made his millions though major investments in Switzerland-based fertiliser giant EuroChem Group and Russia-based coal energy company SUEK. However first business venture was a chain of currency-exchange booths he started in the 1990s which he sold to raise funds invest. Today the billionaire is a regular visitor to the Caribbean in his Uber-decadent $300 million Philippe Starck-designed yacht. One of the most talked-about yacht on the scene, its radical shape—more sleek submarine than boxy pleasure boat—is lavished with custom parts and finishes, including bath knobs costing $40,000 apiece. Melnichenko’s crew often joke about the his penchant for the spontaneous, with frequent changes in itinerary or travel on trios that involving roaming the Caribbean for weeks at a time.