Jamaica is poised to benefit from some US$2 billion in foreign and local direct tourism investments over the next two years.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that these projects will yield more than 7,000 new hotel rooms and generate more than 20,000 new full and part-time jobs.
He was delivering the opening 2021/22 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (April 20), under the theme ‘Building Forward Stronger: Tourism 2021 and Beyond’.
Among the projects are 2,000 hotel rooms to be developed in Westmoreland by the Princess Hotels group at a cost of US$580 million, two projects by a Spanish developer to construct just over 1,000 hotel rooms in St. Ann at a cost of US$350 million, and 950 new rooms by Sandals Resorts International in St. Ann at a cost of US$300 million.
Other scheduled developments include the H-10 Group’s construction of an additional 440 rooms in Trelawny; 300 rooms to be completed at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel; 168 rooms at the Rock Hotel, also in Kingston; and a further 72 at Sandals Negril.
“Our goal to dramatically increase the number of hotel rooms is still on track, and I can safely say that 90 per cent of the planned investments are still on target,” Mr. Bartlett pointed out.
The Minister said these engagements are in addition to the US$7.5-billion Harmony Cove development in Trelawny, which is scheduled to begin in the current fiscal year.
It will include several luxury hotels, world-class golf courses, a luxury spa, marina facilities, commercial development, and private residences.
The venture is being jointly executed by the Government through the Hamonisation Group and Tavistock Jamaica Inc., a subsidiary of global private investment company, the Tavistock Group.
Mr. Bartlett further advised that the Government is engaged in ongoing discussions with local and international investors regarding a stream of small, medium and large hospitality and resort developments incorporating, hotels, villas, attractions, among others.
Complementing these, he said, is work under way or already completed by the Government to expand Jamaica’s two major international airports, develop beach facilities, regenerate heritage sites, build and upgrade piers, support craft development and construct a national highway network “to seriously connect tourists, hoteliers, businesses and markets in quick time”.
Minister Bartlett contended that “no other country in the Caribbean, arguably the Americas, can boast this level of foreign direct investment [in particular] during a pandemic … and we see that as a major vote of confidence in Jamaica”.
“We have never seen this appetite for investment in Jamaica in tourism during a time as difficult as the COVID period. We continue to create an enabling environment to foster increased investment in tourism as we build forward stronger, together,” he said.
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that the tourism industry is an ecosystem “that must be ready to return to the pre-COVID-19 earnings of US$3.7 billion, which will allow us to bring back thousands of displaced workers and build the future”.