The local tourism product is set to receive a boost with the addition of more than 2,000 new rooms.
Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, made the disclosure on July 3, during his Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives. He said that the investments will provide “well-needed employment”.
Outlining some of the projects, he informed that Marriott International, through its business brand ‘Courtyard by Marriott,’ will add 130 rooms in Kingston. “I have already approved the incentives and they have indicated that construction will start this year,”
Dr. McNeill informed.
He said further that the Fiesta group will be expanding with the addition of 850 rooms; RIU has indicated that it will be moving ahead with plans to build a RIU Palace with 232 rooms in Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay, while Bahia Principe currently has 70 rooms under construction and the project is scheduled for completion in November.
Dr. McNeill said the principals of Bahia have indicated an interest in further expansion.
In the meantime, the doors of the former Trelawny Beach Hotel in Cooper’s Pen will reopen later this year. Dr. McNeill informed that Sunwing has acquired the property and is in the process of refurbishing it. “This group has major plans to construct additional rooms as well as a themed water park on the property adjacent to the hotel,” he said.
He noted too that investors have shown strong interest in the former
Grande Lido Braco property in Trelawny and discussions on this will soon begin.
Minister McNeill stated that to have sustainable growth in the tourism sector, it is essential to have investment, hence “a critical consideration during the discussion over the recent tax measures was about maintaining a healthy climate for investment.”
He said that the planned modernization of the nation’s physical infrastructure through projects like the construction of the North – South Leg of Highway 2000, will foster development of the tourism sector.
This highway, he said, will “provide easier access and reduce the travel time between the North East of the island and the Norman Manley International Airport, making this airport more valuable”.
“It will also enable the speedy movement to cruise passengers, who have limited time on our shores, from the north to the central and southern sections of the island and will be the catalyst for the further development of attractions and accommodation,” he said.
By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter