JIS News

The expanded and redeveloped Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay is scheduled to be officially opened in the fall of this year, Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett has said.
Speaking in London on March 3, at a Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) media reception to mark the centenary year of author, Ian Fleming, Mr. Bartlett said the building of modern airport facilities in Montego Bay was part of the programme to expand the tourism infrastructure, as the sector works to reach the target of five million stop-over visitors to the island by 2012.
“In 2008 we are looking at above three million (stop over visitors), and by 2012 we are looking at five million. We are on something called Drive for Five and that’s where our energies are going to create five million stop-over arrivals by 2012,” he said.In addition to the infrastructural development, the Minister said the Drive for Five programme would also be on the basis of increasing to 40,000, the number of hotel rooms in Jamaica.
“That is another 10,000 on the 30,000 we will have by the end of this year. We currently have some 27,000 rooms and we will be adding another 3,000 this year. We are going to do it because we are the best destination with the finest experience,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He said the sector would be working to improve the visitor experience and doing more in terms of training and developing human capital.
The Minister pointed out that the Montego Bay to Ocho Rios section of the North Coast Highway, which is now completed, would undergo major landscaping.
“We have to landscape it; we plan to rebrand the entire Rose Hall area calling it the Elegant Corridor. We are spending $120 million on state-of-the art illuminations (lighting) and the landscaping will be done by the hoteliers,” he noted.
Mr. Bartlett also gave an update on the planned development of resort areas, such as Ocho Rios and Portland; plans to revamp Port Royal as a visitor attraction and the rehabilitation of the Bath spa in St. Thomas and the Milk River mineral spa in Clarendon.

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