Major Increase in Hotel Rooms

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, highlights investment opportunities and projects underway in the tourism sector at a recent ministerial briefing for diplomats at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • There has been a major increase in hotel rooms over the past decade with the establishment, rebranding and expansion of several properties.
  • Last year, nearly 2,400 new hotel rooms were added to the country’s stock with an additional 1,035 rooms now under construction and slated to come on stream in 2017.
  • Development projects being undertaken by Excellence Group, Sandals, RIU, Bahia Principe, Royal Decameron, Royalton, Spanish Court and Moon Palace are at various stages and will further expand the room stock.

There has been a major increase in hotel rooms over the past decade with the establishment, rebranding and expansion of several properties.

“Investment in tourism in Jamaica has grown significantly over the last 20 years and certainly in the last ten years we have had well in excess of US$1 billion of investment in new and refurbished hotels,” Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, told diplomats at a recent ministerial briefing at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

Last year, nearly 2,400 new hotel rooms were added to the country’s stock with an additional 1,035 rooms now under construction and slated to come on stream in 2017.

In addition, 32 high-end rooms and eight two-bedroom apartments are being built at The Renfrew in Kingston, while redevelopment work is underway at the former Wyndham New Kingston Hotel, which was acquired by the Courtleigh Hotel Group.

A major contract was signed for the largest single development of hotels in Jamaica’s history, being undertaken by Karisma Hotels and Resorts.

The US$1 billion mega-hotel project in Llandovery, St. Ann, is expected to add 5,000 new rooms, provide at least 8,000 direct jobs as well as 10,000 indirect jobs in the coming years.

Development projects being undertaken by Excellence Group, Sandals, RIU, Bahia Principe, Royal Decameron, Royalton, Spanish Court and Moon Palace are at various stages and will further expand the room stock.

“We require another 25,000 rooms to take us to somewhere in the region of 55,000 rooms, and so we are seeking investments,” the Minister said, adding that for the past six months, several meetings and discussions have taken place with investment companies which have an interest in Jamaica.

On the matter of attractions, increasing investments are in progress for this subsector, including a near US$10 million investment into the Appleton Estate Rum Tour in St. Elizabeth by J. Wray and Nephew, which is owned by Italian powerhouse, Campari.

Additionally, the Ministry currently has 15 projects under its Shovel Ready Initiative, which is aimed at attracting local and foreign investments by offering pre-packaged projects.

“We are preparing the site, the regulatory agreements, the National Environment and Planning Agency agreements, so that when the investor comes, everything is already in place. In that way, we get a quicker turnaround time for the development and the build-out of the hotels,” Mr. Bartlett said.

The Minister further indicated that the sector continues to work at stimulating investments and promotions targeting new, existing and emerging markets in order to increase arrivals, foster growth in the sector, generate jobs and increase foreign exchange earnings.

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