Ground is to be broken soon for 900 hotel rooms under phase two of the hotel expansion project being undertaken by Spanish Hotel chain, Fiesta Hotel Group, in Point, Hanover, pending the Hanover Parish Council’s approval of the development plans.
This will involve expansion of the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa, with the 900 additional luxury suites and other facilities that will encompass lands situated across from the resort.
Speaking at a press briefing, held at the Ministry of Tourism, in New Kingston on March 24, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett said the Government is delighted that this element of the Fiesta Group’s expansion plan is now going to be a reality, adding that it ties in with the Government’s strategy to incorporate higher luxury brands as part of its tourism product.
“The effort to improve and constantly increase the number of high quality rooms that we have in the country is the imperative of the day. We are going to remain competitive and we are going to be able to continue to drive high arrivals if we can refurbish our rooms and have a high level of quality rooms across the country,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that based on the number of stop-over arrivals projected for the next 10 years, more rooms will be needed to complement the existing 30,000 available, particularly to fulfil the demand that exists in the market for “a certain quality of room, a certain price point, with a certain value."
“This is the continuation of the development and expansion phase of the tourism industry in Jamaica, as we seek to deliver on the objective of bringing five million visitors to Jamaica, earning US$5 billion for the country over the next five years,” he said.
Minister Bartlett expressed gratitude to the Spanish investors, noting that “the spin-off from it in terms of the towns of Lucea, Sandy Bay, and Hopewell and the entire north western area is going to be phenomenal."
He said that this new development is going to provide jobs for over 1,000 workers during the construction phase, “and when the hotel is completed, we’re talking about another 2,000 workers that will be on, so this phase of the development will involve over 3,000 Jamaican workers overall."
General Manager of the Grand Palladium, Dimitris Kosvogiannis, informed that the 900 rooms comprise junior and larger suites, 245 of which will be royal suites, part of an integrated resorts scheme.
This, he said, relates to upgrading of the tourism product, “to meet precisely the guidelines that the Ministry has, as far as price point and the type of tourists that we want to attract in Jamaica, are concerned."
“We are bringing the royal suites product, which is an upgraded or luxury feature existing today in the Mexico, Dominican Republic and Brazil properties. The royal suites are concierge level suites with swim up pools, private entries, private beaches, room service, personalised cooks and all the amenities that a luxury visitor now would seek out of his or her accommodations,” he said.
Mr. Kosvogiannis noted that the integrated development model also involves the expansion of the current convention centre and the establishment of a golf course which will be situated on a property across from the resort. “We are speaking now with owners of those properties…to include an 18-hole golf course, as well as (a) marina,” he said.
The General Manager further noted that it is the desire of the Spanish investors to make Jamaica the Caribbean hub in terms of tourism.
Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Celsa Nuno, said that this project is an “indication of confidence of the Spanish investors in the future of Jamaica."
The Ambassador said she is proud that Spain and the Spanish investors are partnering with Jamaica to be part of the continued growth of the country, particularly in the tourism sector.
By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter