JIS News

Jamaica’s development has been vastly improved by Spanish investments, especially in the hospitality sector, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn has said.
“We have experienced significant Spanish investment in the island with a large number of hotel construction projects being undertaken by Spanish entities. This has not only brought increased levels of construction on the North Coast but has also provided high levels of employment,” he stated.
Senator Franklyn, who was addressing the second of a three-day meeting of the CARICOM/Spain Joint Commission at the Hilton Kingston Hotel today (October 19), said the engagement would provide an opportunity to advance discussions on strengthening bilateral partnerships in various areas of economic interest.
Spanish hotel chains are building some 13 new hotels in Jamaica, at an estimated value of US$550-600 million. According to the Jamaica Tourist Board, these investments are major contributors to the anticipated 5,000 new rooms, to be added within the next ten years.
The latest Spanish chain, Iberostar Hotels and Resorts, broke ground late last year in the Rose Hall area for the construction of a US$100 million, 950-room family-oriented hotel.
The RIU group presently operates two hotels in Negril and recently began construction of a third hotel in Mammee Bay, St. Ann.
Meanwhile, other Spanish chains have also expressed interest in the island. These include Grupo Pinero, slated to build and operate three hotels under its Bahia Principe brand. These will be located in St. Ann. Barcelo Hotels and Resorts is also slated to construct two hotels in the island over the next two years. Royal DeCameron, which currently operates a hotel in St. Ann, is also exploring opportunities to expand its investment in the island.
With the proliferation of Spanish hotel chains in the island, there is a growing demand for personnel of all categories who speak Spanish.
“Assistance in language training has also been a major thrust of our cooperation efforts as we continue to place great emphasis in the region on Spanish as a second language,” Senator Franklyn said.
The State Minister said that he was confident that the three-day meeting would enable CARICOM heads to discuss and build on the pillars of assistance that have been laid with Spain, adding that he hoped that sustainable and mutually beneficial outcomes would be enjoyed by parties on both sides.
The joint commission meeting comprising CARICOM Heads of State and Spanish officials will end tomorrow (Oct. 20).