225 Rooms added to Hotel Sector

Photo by: Bryan Miller Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill (centre); participates in the ribbon cutting exercise to officially declare the Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort and Spa open on December 7, with (from left): Senior Vice President, Investment and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Sagicor X Fund, Rohan Miller; President and CEO of Sagicor, Richard Byles; Senior VP Aimbridge Hospitality, Rich Cortese; General Manager Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort and Spa, Barbara Burton, and (partly hidden), Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), John Lynch.

Story Highlights

  • The hotel, which is located on the former Hedonism III property, was acquired by the Sagicor Jamaica Group in May of this year and underwent a US$5 million facelift.
  • Dr. McNeill went on to highlight the many initiatives being implemented by the government through his ministry towards making the industry a vibrant and secure one, thereby playing its role in the needed partnership
  • Mr. Byles noted that the company’s US$50 million of investment “is a vote of confidence in Jamaica, it’s a vote of confidence in tourism...

Jamaica’s hotel room stock increased by 225, creating employment for approximately 300 persons, with the official opening of the Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort and Spa in Runaway Bay, St. Ann, on Saturday December 7.

The hotel, which is located on the former Hedonism III property, was acquired by the Sagicor Jamaica Group in May of this year and underwent a US$5 million facelift.  It is now the third hotel to be opened under the Jewel brand by the Sagicor Group and will be managed by Aimbridge Hospitality, a company out of Dallas, United States (US), which has a portfolio of some 190 hotels across that country.

Addressing the official opening ceremony, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said the nature of the tourism industry dictates that it be approached as a partnership. He noted that the country’s tourism sector is performing well mainly because of the unstinting support from committed partners and outstanding team members.

“An investment in our tourism product is an investment in our people as it provides employment, exposes our rich cultural heritage to a wider market and generates foreign exchange to support our economy,” he argued.

The Minister said that the country has made steady inroads into new tourism source markets over the last year, which is expected to gather momentum going forward.

This achievement, he noted, imposes urgency on the need to keep increasing the country’s room stock, while also making investments in the tourism sector more attractive for investors.

He added that the opening of the Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort and Spa bears testimony to that fact, noting that “this and their other investments are proof that Jamaica still offers a welcoming climate for enterprising investors and that our confidence of a bright future for tourism is well founded.”

Dr. McNeill went on to highlight the many initiatives being implemented by the government through his ministry towards making the industry a vibrant and secure one, thereby playing its role in the needed partnership.

“The needle (on industry’s progress) is moving in the right direction, and we expect to remain in positive numbers for a good while to come,” he emphasised.

Meanwhile, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sagicor, Richard Byles, in his address, informed that in the last 18 months his company has invested over US$50 million in the Jamaican economy and there are now some 741 rooms in operation under the Jewel brand.

“This is at a time when many Jamaican businessmen are standing on the sidelines and wondering whether Jamaica is worth the risk.  Our experience has been that it is worth investing in the real economy of this country,” he stated.

Mr. Byles noted that the company’s US$50 million of investment “is a vote of confidence in Jamaica, it’s a vote of confidence in tourism and it’s a vote of confidence, very importantly, in the team that we have here at the Jewel.”

He argued that more Jamaicans should be investing in the tourism industry in one way or another, bearing in mind that the industry is so very important to the country’s economy.

The newly opened Jewel Paradise Cove Resort and Spa, along with its sister hotels, Jewel Dunn’s River and Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort, make up the Sagicor Jewel Resorts portfolio.

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