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JIS News

With the expected increase in the number of tourists visiting the island this year, particularly Chinese visitors, Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba has given the assurance that there would be adequate hotel rooms to accommodate them.
“We are not going to have the increase come all at once. There is going to be a beginning and a growth and we have a number of projects that are coming on stream for new hotel rooms,” the Minister told JIS News. “We certainly are trying to build that area and there are a number of projects that are well on the way.some have not yet been announced but we are attracting a lot of investment in hotel rooms and I expect that over time we will be able to grow as the Chinese business grows,” she added. Mrs. Assamba said that in the hotel sector, persons visit the country on holiday and see opportunities here and they take up these offers. “Many of the persons who have invested in Jamaica have seen opportunities and have come back and invested in the industry,” the Minister noted. President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Patricia Francis informed JIS News that the efforts the promotions agency has been making over the last few years, would result in an expansion of 40 per cent of hotel rooms available in Jamaica.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies in his pre-budget presentation in Parliament recently, pointed out that there would be the need to have skilled workers for the hotel sector, which would be expanded.
“The investment in the tourism sector demonstrates that investment is not solely in regards to tourism, because before you have the rooms you have construction, and we are faced with an interesting problem. in terms of ensuring that there is an adequacy of skilled workmen to deal with hotel construction.
This, the Minister said was in the context that these were firm investments, which would not wait if Jamaica was not ready.
“It is a point we need to understand that unless we are ready these investments won’t wait for us,” the Minister emphasised. He added that hotel construction had clear time lines and hence “we need to be in a position to provide the skilled workers”.
Derick Latibeaudiere, Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, speaking at a recently held press briefing, noted that Jamaica would come up against an accommodation problem, if additional hotel rooms were not being built.
“It is a good thing that we have so many hotel rooms being built, because what is clear to me is if we continue at the same rate, we are going to have a problem with accommodating the number of people who want to come here. I understand even as we speak, that things are fairly buoyant,” the Governor said. He noted that the anticipated increase in the number of Chinese visitors would “change the picture significantly”.
“We need to think about room capacity and support infrastructure very carefully,” the Governor stressed.