KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has announced that the largest single development of hotels in Jamaican history, being undertaken by Karisma Hotels and Resorts, is now ready to proceed as the hotel chain has signed the relevant documents to move forward with the development.
The US$1 billion mega-hotel project in Llandovery, St. Ann has been effectively placed under the Ministry’s Shovel-Ready Initiative. This after the signing of a contract by Minister Bartlett and Karisma’s Vice-President of Corporate Affairs & Business Development, Ruben Becerra at Devon House on June 14, 2016, to place the new development under the program.
In the coming years, the development, which will be called Sugarcane by Karisma Jamaica, is expected to add some 5,000 new rooms, provide at least 8,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs.
“This is particularly close to my heart given the fact that it was several years ago, then as Tourism Minister, that in Germany I met with Karisma and discussed and encouraged their planned developments. Now, we are on the verge of fruition,” shared Minister Bartlett.
Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, John Lynch explained that though the Ministry currently has 15 projects under the shovel-ready initiative, the partnership with Karisma is by far the largest and most developed project with the most possibilities.
“Ruben Becerra came to Jamaica 5 years ago with a smaller proposition. He got enchanted with Jamaica and purchased 226 acres. In fact, in a couple of days Ruben is going to complete the development plan and we will do the necessary studies that will make it truly shovel-ready,” said Mr. Lynch.
In making his contribution to the 2016/17 Sectoral Debate hours before the contract signing, Minister Bartlett indicated that new investments, like Karisma’s, will play an important role in achieving key goals under the Government’s growth agenda.
“I think that this is a very critical signal that we are sending to the country that investment will be a critical pillar in driving the growth strategy of this country. It will be a key provider of jobs and we are placing special priority on creating employment for more Jamaicans,” said Mr. Bartlett.
The Shovel-Ready Initiative has been undertaken jointly by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, TEF, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and Commissioner of Lands to pre-package a number of investment offerings.
The initiative also seeks to directly assist investors by obtaining tacit development approvals, conducting carrying capacity studies, assessing appropriate land utilization and installing preliminary infrastructure. By doing this, the process of investing in Jamaica’s tourism industry is streamlined and expedited.