JIS News

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies has said that the impending increase in the number of hotels to be constructed by international groups, indicated a strong level of investor confidence in the future of the economy.
He pointed out that the total investment would be in the range of US$550 million to US$600 million, excluding the cost of land acquisition, with 5,000 rooms being constructed over a five-year period and generating in excess of 12,000 new jobs.
Opening the 2004/05 Budget Debate in the House yesterday (April 16), the Minister noted that during the course of the calendar year, at least 800 new hotel rooms would come on stream, with the RIU Hotel in Negril and Sandals Whitehouse providing the majority of the rooms.
He noted that Sandals Whitehouse, in which the government was the majority owner, was the first major resort to be established on the South Coast and it was expected that the development “would be a catalyst for future tourism development on that side of the island”.
The Minister added that later this year, construction would begin on four new hotel properties being developed by Spanish hotel chains. They would be situated at Rose Hall in St James; Oyster Bay in Trelawny; Peartree Bay in St. Ann, and Mammee Bay, also in St Ann.
Dr. Davies informed that Iberostar would be constructing three hotels with a total number of 950 rooms at Rose Hall; AM Resorts would be building four hotels with a total of 1,400 rooms at Oyster Bay; Grupo Pinero would be building 3 hotels with a total of 1,800 rooms at Peartree Bay, while RIU would be constructing 3 hotels with a total of 850 rooms at Mammee Bay.
Giving an overview of the achievements in the sector last year, the Minister pointed out that the number of stop-over arrivals was in excess 1.35 million, the highest number ever. “Cruise ship arrivals reached 1,132,000, an increase of 31 per cent over 2002. It was the first time that Jamaica had received over one million cruise ship passengers,” he added.
The Minister noted that in the first two months of 2004, stop-over arrivals increased by just under 8 per cent, “which is the target for the year and the projections are that we will have another year of strong growth”.

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