McNeill: Tourist dollars boon for Jamaica’s economy

OCHO RIOS, Jamaica - The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment says that the local economy continues to receive a major boost from billions of dollars which are currently flowing into the island, thro

McNeill: Tourist dollars boon for Jamaica’s economy

OCHO RIOS, Jamaica – The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment says that the local economy continues to receive a major boost from billions of dollars which are currently flowing into the island, through investment in the tourism sector.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr Wykeham McNeill indicated that “current investment in the industry stands at some J$35 billion. This is in keeping with a growing demand for rooms to satisfy the increasing interest in the country as a preferred tourist destination.”

The ministry in a release Saturday said that following a tour with Minister McNeill of four tourism investment sites in Montego Bay, Trelawny and Ocho Rios, Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Peter Phillips expressed delight with the developments and their contribution to the government’s growth agenda.

The locations visited on the tour included the Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara resorts in Montego Bay, Royalton White Sands Resort in Trelawny, the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Pier and the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa.

Dr Phillips said this was “proof that we are heading in the right direction.” He added that “what we have seen here in Ocho Rios, as well as in Montego Bay and Trelawny, is that there is tremendous employment potential in the tourism industry.”

According to the ministry over 1000 construction workers are on site at the Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara resorts in preparation for a soft opening. An additional 600 permanent staff are already on the job, the ministry said.

The hotel’s parent company, Playa Resorts is spending some US$150 million to transform the former Ritz Carlton property with the addition to several new features, including an additional 193 rooms.

In Falmouth, the ministers were given a guided tour of the former Trelawny Beach Hotel, which has been transformed into Royalton White Sands. Resident Manager, Alexander Arias said occupancy was now at 100 per cent and this would continue into the upcoming winter tourist season, which begins on December 15.

It was also outlined that the Moon Palace resort is set to open in January 2015 and over 2000 construction workers are engaged in the refurbishing of the former Sunset Jamaica Grande property. The hotel, which has over 700 rooms, is being developed into an elegant resort with Jamaican hotelier, Clifton Reader as general manager.

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