JIS News

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  • The pace of growth in the tourism sector is accelerating, with a healthy increase in visitor arrivals, running at over five per cent for the current winter season.
  • This was announced by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, while opening the 2015/16 Budget Debate in the House on March 12.
  • He said the growth is being felt across the sector, from large hotels to small hotels, and even by individual owners who are successfully offering a growing bed-and-breakfast service.

The pace of growth in the tourism sector is accelerating, with a healthy increase in visitor arrivals, running at over five per cent for the current winter season.

This was announced by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, while opening the 2015/16 Budget Debate in the House on March 12.

He said the growth is being felt across the sector, from large hotels to small hotels, and even by individual owners who are successfully offering a growing bed-and-breakfast service.

“The effect of this will be felt through the positive impact on the rate of economic growth, job creation and foreign exchange earnings,” Dr. Phillips noted.

He urged stakeholders to regularise their businesses, so that they can access the range of incentives and benefits that are currently being offered to the tourism sector.

In the meantime, Dr. Phillips informed that there are a number of investment projects underway that will add further momentum to economic growth.

These include the completion of Moon Palace Jamaica Grande; the addition of 150 rooms at Bahia Principe; upgrading of Braco to a Melia Resort; Royalton White Sands – Phase II, consisting of 180 rooms; and rebuilding and expansion of Royalton Grande Lido Negril to over 600 rooms.

“All these projects represent significant investments and upgrading of our tourism product,” the Minister said, adding that there are also several other new hotel projects at the planning and design stages that will add another 1,500 rooms.

In relation to Integrated Resort Development, Dr. Phillips informed that the recommendations of the review team have been finalised.

The Minister said he will be reporting the findings to Cabinet in short order and expects to be able to make an announcement on the matter next month.

“If we are to sustain the expansion in the tourism sector, we must continue to broaden the base of ownership and participation,” he said.

He noted that whereas under the old Hotel Incentive Act, only 80 entities enjoyed the tax incentive, already that number has doubled and the majority of the new beneficiaries are among small and medium investors.