JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Speaking at EPOC’s monthly media briefing at Sagicor’s head office in New Kingston on Tuesday, February 23, Mr. Byles noted that the sector is “growing and booming,” due largely to foreign investments.
  • While welcoming the investments by foreign business interests, Mr. Byles expressed a desire to see more local investor involvement.
  • Mr. Byles, in welcoming this increase, expressed optimism that tourism will “do very well in 2016.”

Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles, is again encouraging more investment by local business interests in Jamaica’s tourism industry.

Speaking at EPOC’s monthly media briefing at Sagicor’s head office in New Kingston on Tuesday, February 23, Mr. Byles noted that the sector is “growing and booming,” due largely to foreign investments.

“Two thousand more rooms that were refurbished last year are coming on the market…another 2,500 are under construction…and then there is another 4,000 that are planned… (this is) enormous,” he pointed out.

While welcoming the investments by foreign business interests, Mr. Byles expressed a desire to see more local investor involvement.

In noting that entities such as Sagicor, Sandals, and Couples were among the local investors, he contended that they were “not enough.”

“You don’t want a tourism business that is booming and Jamaican businesses are not in there with foreign investors, growing and benefitting from this. So, all of the Jamaican companies that are successful in other aspects of business need to look at…tourism ,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Byles said data from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) showed a 2.1 per cent increase in stopover visitor arrivals and a 10.2 per cent increase in cruise ship passengers for January to December 2015, compared to the corresponding period in 2014.

 

Mr. Byles, in welcoming this increase, expressed optimism that tourism will “do very well in 2016.”

“Many more rooms are in the market compared to last year and that’s an important component in increasing the (country’s) ability to receive more visitors…and airlines flying into Jamaica. So I am very hopeful about the business, going forward,” he said.