Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that Jamaica’s tourism sector received a massive boost last week with the announcement that some US$250 million is being invested in the sector to develop hotels under three major tourism development projects.
Speaking at the press launch of the expanded Spruce Up Jamaica programme at the historic Devon House recently, the Minister said, “the third week of January was the most powerful for Jamaica’s tourism industry in a long time. This is the largest set of investments we have had announced in the space of a week, as combined they value approximately US$250 million. The accumulated job potential of this is significant with nearly 5,000 jobs being created.”
Just last week, while he was in Spain, Minister Bartlett signed an agreement with representatives of the Excellence Group of Luxury Hotels and Resorts to build two hotels in Oyster Bay, Trelawny, which will add over 700 rooms to the island’s room-stock. The first hotel, which will open in the first half of 2018, will be built at a cost of US$110 million. The project is expected to generate some 2,000 new jobs in the construction and operation phases.
Ground was also broken last week for the construction of an AC Hotel in Kingston, a partnership between Sandals Resorts International, Marriot International and ATL Automotive, which has an estimated value of US$50 million.
This comes against the background of the recent announcement that some US$100 Million will be invested by Sandals Resorts International to develop the Dragon Bay Hotel in Portland.
Minister Bartlett said “soon we will have four additional hotels. Two in Trelawny. One in Kingston and one in Port Antonio. The accumulated job potential of nearly 5,000. That is 2,000 from Trelawny, through construction and then 600 permanent jobs thereafter. Another thousand plus from Port Antonio with 800 jobs because of the type of hotel that Dragon Bay will be. So the room to employee ratio is higher. Then of course the city hotel.”
Stressing that investment in the sector is at an all time high he added that “we are going to be even more aggressive because we are going to look for every opportunity to capitalize on Jamaica’s strategic position in this area of investment and growth. Our efforts so far have been bearing fruit and I am confident that this year we will also record four million arrivals.”