JIS News

Jamaica’s hotel room inventory is on a growth path following unprecedented levels of investment in the tourism industry.The number of hotel rooms is to be increased to approximately 30,000 by 2009, up from 17,000.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Dennis Morrison outlined a number of projects and investments, which will increase the hotel room inventory by 13,000 highlighting the major investments underway on the northern corridor between Hanover and St. Mary.
Mr. Morrison emphasized that tourism was one of “the main drivers of economic activity,” as it generates growth, employment and foreign exchange earnings in Jamaica. It is against this background that “an aggressive investment promotion was put together” which targeted Spain as the chief investor, he said.
The chairman made reference to several resorts and properties that have been either completed, were under construction or where construction would begin soon. Among those completed are the three Riu properties; two of which are located in Negril and the third, which was opened a month ago in Mammee Bay, St. Ann.
“These three hotels have nearly 1,800 new rooms added to our capacity,” Mr. Morrison said, noting that Hotel Riu III surpassed Sunset Jamaica Grande as the largest hotel in Jamaica, with 850 rooms.
The chairman added that, “this property will make a significant difference in the Ocho Rios area” as it presents tremendous potential for business activities in its vicinity and visitors would want to “look for some activity outside of the hotel” whether it was to visit attractions, go on tours or shop for souvenirs”.
The JTB chairman spoke of two major projects that were underway in the Montego Bay area. One project is the luxurious 500-unit condominiums of the Palmyra Resorts valued at US$170 million. This private home community will have a world-class E’Spa, a convention centre, golf course and a shopping centre. Mr. Morrison revealed that the first units of the Palmyra Resorts would be opened in 2007.
The Grupo Iberostar, another project underway in the Rose Hall area, is expected to begin operation in the next winter tourist season in 2006. This all-inclusive development of 950 rooms is being constructed by a Spanish group, which operates internationally. Mr. Morrison noted that the location of these resorts is ideal since Rose Hall “is becoming a major luxury resort area within the Jamaican industry and the Caribbean.”
Another development now under construction is the Grupo Pinero, situated at Pear Tree Bottom in St. Ann, which will consist of 1,918 rooms. The chairman asserted that this hotel, on completion, would surpass the Riu Hotel as the largest in the island, adding that the first phase consisting of over 600 rooms, would be ready for the next winter tourist season as well.
There are several other developments, which will get underway early next year and will add significantly to the room inventory including: AM Resorts in Oyster Bay and Harmony Cove in Trelawny, Golden Eye in St. Mary and Fiesta Resorts in Hanover.
Mr. Morrison stated that with the significant increase in the room inventory, the industry had the responsibility and opportunity to further market and generate large increases in visitor arrivals in the coming years.
He also announced that the industry was establishing air services agreements to “facilitate an increase in both scheduled and charter services especially from the European market and South America” in order to bring visitors to these properties.

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