JIS News

First let me add my own very warm personal welcome and that of the members of my Government to everyone here.
Senator Sloley’s introduction has made it clear that this is not the time for long speeches as you have already heard several during the course of today.
I myself arrived in Montego Bay late this afternoon after a full day of engagements in my office in Kingston so you can be assured that I myself am feeling a few pangs of hunger. Like you, I am quite eager for us to get on to the entertainment package that has been promised. I therefore have no intention of testing the limits of your courtesy or your endurance by delivering a long speech!
After today’s presentations and discussions everyone has a clear idea of the exciting prospects that Harmony Cove offers local and international investors alike.
Your presence here attests to the fact that you are conscious of Jamaica’s reputation worldwide as a diverse and exciting tourism destination. With partners of your calibre, we fully intend to continue to capitalize on its tremendous potential.
Today you received a great deal of information, possibly more information than you will ever need, about the remarkable progress we are making in achieving our objectives for sustainable economic development and the critical role of Tourism.
There is ample evidence that we are on track. Our major investments in infrastructure – our air and seaports, our road and highway network, basic things such as water supplies, generation of electricity and the all-important telecommunication network – all have received priority attention and are up to world standards. We are now confident that we are equipped to support our planned expansion in Tourism and other carefully identified growth sectors.
The business environment which we have cultivated, as well as the spirit of cooperation and unity among the social and economic partners, have engendered measurable investor confidence in Jamaica. We are already enjoying significant new investments in tourism, minerals, light manufacturing, information technology, cultural industries and other sectors.
We see Tourism as possibly our biggest winner. We have been blessed with location, climate and a people who have a unique understanding of hospitality. Last year we welcomed a record number of visitors and saw a significant increase in visitor expenditure.
The sessions held earlier today, your visit to the property tomorrow, and further discussions over the next couple of days, will allow you to share our vision of the redefinition of Jamaica’s tourism product.
Many of you may have memories of Jamaica from your college days of spring break vacations in Negril. Like so many thousands of visitors you have probably enjoyed the free spirit of the island and the warmth of our people.
That free spirit is stronger than ever, and yes, we are just as welcoming, but the profile of the clientele we wish to engage has evolved. There still is and always will be a place here for the young college student, families with young children, and singles on a budget.
But we also want to re-connect with the discerning traveler looking for exceptional experiences.
I say re-connect as the island has always counted as a favourite with high-end clientele from our earliest days and this remains so today. A quick look through the guest books of some of our elegant resorts will yield a host of names of celebrities including royalty, business moguls, a fair share of actors. They appreciate the spectacular beauty of our island and the warmth of our hospitality. They also prize the discretion we exercise in maintaining their precious privacy and shielding them from the dreaded paparazzi! A special priority for a very special segment of our tourism market.
As we expand the variety of vacation experiences available in Jamaica, Harmony Cove is seen as a flagship project. Meeting the needs of the sophisticated traveler is a main priority and Harmony Cove is an integral part of this initiative.
We see the resort concept as a revival of the Jamaican high-end leisure experience. The development is a convergence of the highest level of luxury, Jamaican hospitality and our vibrant culture. I do not think we are overstating when we say that this will be like no other place in the world for, in the entire world, there really is no place like Jamaica.
We are excited about this project because it opens up the prospect for Jamaica to distinguish itself with a very lucrative target market as a vacation and residential resort.
Harmony Cove has been carefully planned to make it attractive and profitable for local and foreign investors alike. We are pleased to have your participation. Based on what I have learnt about the participants in this Conference, it is clear that you bring to the table a range of expertise and of interests in a number of relevant areas which will enrich the texture of the final product that will emerge from our collaboration.
Time is the most valuable and the most perishable of our possessions. I am particularly conscious of the need to move forward with a sense of urgency, as we utilize our assets in those areas that offer the best opportunity for creating sustainable economic growth and improving the quality of life of our people. I am firmly of the view that Harmony Cove affords us such an opportunity.
I have every confidence in the local team which has been charged with the responsibility for getting the job done. I also give you my assurance that I have already begun to use all the weight of my office to make certain that Harmony Cove becomes a reality.
I trust you will find the remaining activities during this Conference informative and productive and that you will be as infused with excitement as we are as to the great possibilities that Harmony Cove offers.

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