Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett have welcomed the return of the EP (European Plan) model of hotels as part of the expanding tourism industry.
Sunday’s official opening of S Hotel along Montego Bay’s Hip Strip was the first significant hotel of its kind to open its doors using this model, in more than three decades. Large all-inclusive hotels make up about 80 percent of resort destination’s room stock.
Minister Bartlett described S Hotel as special “because the S is bringing back the model of tourism that has escaped us for a while, the EP model which offers an opportunity for more involvement and more participation
This sentiment was endorsed by Prime Minister Holness who said, “We must find ways to make tourism inclusive and beneficial to all the people of Jamaica.”
According to Prime Minister Holness, the strategy for tourism must be to ensure connectivity with the rest of the economy. He said, “The benefit of tourism must be shared with the people, because all tourism is, if you take away the block and steel, it is the people, it is the culture, it is our music, it is our language, it is our dance. It is all of that put together to form a package that distinguishes us from the rest of the world that makes people want to come here and enjoy.”
The Prime Minister expressed the view that the industry must create an instrumental approach to ensuring that the benefits are shared. “Buy more Jamaican, employ more Jamaicans as entertainers; put them in your package, make people see them because that is what is going to create the value for your product,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Bartlett was elated “that tourism in Jamaica is outstanding,” stating that the new hotel signalled the start of a momentous week for tourism in Jamaica “because the opening of this very critical addition to the room stock and more so the variety of offering that we are providing in the accommodation subsector, begins a week of tourism celebration and marketing.
Outlining several activities planned, he said Jamaica would take centre stage Monday night at the World Travel Awards and Tuesday morning “we welcome the world with the second Global Conference on Job Creation and Inclusive Growth with emphasis on small and medium tourism enterprises (SMTEs).”
Sunday’s opening of S Hotel was also attended by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen; former prime ministers P.J. Patterson and Portia Simpson Miller; Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips and Opposition Spokesman on Tourism, Dr Wykeham McNeil.