Jamaica hotels in expansion mode
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday July 9, 2012 – Two new hotel developments and several hotel expansions have placed Jamaica on track to grow its accommodations stock by over 1,000 new rooms in the near future.
Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Dr Wykeham McNeill, made this disclosure during his sectoral debate presentation in the House of Representatives last week.
Outlining some of the projects, he informed that Marriott International, through its business brand ‘Courtyard by Marriott,’ will add 130 rooms in Kingston. “I have already approved the incentives and they have indicated that construction will start this year,” Dr McNeill said.
He added that the Fiesta group would be expanding with the addition of 850 rooms; RIU has indicated that it will be moving ahead with plans to build a RIU Palace with 232 rooms in Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay, while Bahia Principe currently has 70 rooms under construction and the project is scheduled for completion in November.
Minister McNeill also disclosed that the principals of Bahia have indicated an interest in further expansion.
In the meantime, the doors of the former Trelawny Beach Hotel in Cooper’s Pen will reopen later this year. The tourism minister said that Sunwing had acquired the property and is in the process of refurbishing it. “This group has major plans to construct additional rooms as well as a themed water park on the property adjacent to the hotel,” he said.
He said that the investments will provide “well-needed employment”.
McNeill noted too that investors have shown strong interest in the former Grande Lido Braco property in Trelawny and discussions on this will soon begin.
The minister underscored that to have sustainable growth in the tourism sector, it was essential to have investment, hence “a critical consideration during the discussion over the recent tax measures was about maintaining a healthy climate for investment,” he said.
He added that the planned modernization of the nation’s physical infrastructure through projects like the construction of the North – South Leg of Highway 2000, would further foster development of the tourism sector.
This highway, he said, would “provide easier access and reduce the travel time between the North East of the island and the Norman Manley International Airport, making this airport more valuable”.
“It will also enable the speedy movement to cruise passengers, who have limited time on our shores, from the north to the central and southern sections of the island and will be the catalyst for the further development of attractions and accommodation,” he said.