Jamaica to benefit from multi-billion hotel projects
KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 19, 2008 - Jamaica's tourism product is to benefit from more than 18,000 additional hotel rooms, which will be developed from multi-billion dollar projects to be undertaken over the next five years.
Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett said that the expansion of the room count was expected to commence with an additional 3,000 to bring the current number up to 30,000.
Among the projects underpinning this expansion is the Palmyra development in Montego Bay, which he said is scheduled to come on stream later this year with 843 rooms.
Mr Bartlett told the House that the developers will also be undertaking an "iconic product" called Celebration Jamaica, a JA$2.1 billion (US$29.5 million) development comprising 2,000 rooms at the "high end", and providing "enriched experiences from entertainment, to fine dining, to gaming".
"We are excited about that development," the Minister said, noting that it will not only bring new dimensions in terms of boutiques, spas, golf courses, fine dining, tennis, and entertainment, but it will also provide 12,000 new jobs in the Montego Bay area with the potential to provide some JA$13 billion (US$182.7 million) of revenue on an annual basis to the country.
Mr Bartlett also spoke about the JA$100 million (US$1.4 million) Royal Plantation development in Portland, which he said was a six-diamond 165 all-suite hotel "never before seen in Jamaica and the Caribbean".
Her explained that the development was expected to “attract the kind of price points that will put Jamaica at the top of the elegant high luxury properties in the world”.
The developments come on the heels of a strong start for Jamaica’s tourism sector this year.
Mr Bartlett said that preliminary figures showed that the industry has taken off with a healthy 13 per cent increase in stopover arrivals for January through April this year over the same period last year.
There was a marginal increase of 1 per cent in cruise passenger arrivals, while the preliminary total visitor arrivals for the same period, for stop-over and cruise, was a record 1.2 million, with an estimated 10 per cent increase in earnings, amounting to US$723.6 million.