By Douglas McIntosh
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says the investment climate remains positive despite the sector being impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the level of multibillion-dollar investment projects that are now underway or programmed for implementation over the next two years is indicative of investors’ vote of confidence in Jamaica.
Bartlett was speaking during a recent meeting with representatives of the Caribbean Alternative Investment Association (CARAIA) at the AC Hotel Kingston. He said that among the projects completed in 2020 or are nearing completion are the development of the Chukka Ocean Outpost in Sandy Bay, Hanover, at a cost of US$3 million; refurbishing of Overwater Bungalows by Sandals; and refurbishing of the RIU Hotel in Montego Bay.
Additionally, the construction of 400 additional hotel rooms at Oceans by H10 in Trelawny is nearing completion, while ground was broken for the US$2-million Red Stripe Experience Museum at Rick’s Café in Negril.
Bartlett indicated that projects slated for implementation between 2021-2023 include the construction of 2,000 rooms by Princess Hotels in Negril; 1,700 rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in St James; 950 rooms at Sandals Negril, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay; 700 rooms at Secrets in St Ann; 12 additional luxury rooms at Oyster Bay in Trelawny; 300 new rooms at the Wyndham New Kingston Hotel; 168 new rooms at the ROK Hotel; 30 rooms at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in S. Andrew; 150 rooms at Palm Beach, Runaway Bay, St Ann; 60 rooms at Hotel Grand-A-View in Montego Bay; and phase-two development of 444 additional rooms at Oceans by H10.
“In total, that amounts to over 7,500 rooms. What a vote of confidence!” the minister declared. Additionally, he said, Harmonisation Group Limited is set to continue work on the US$7.5 billion Harmony Cove tourism project in Trelawny during the 2021/22 fiscal year. The development is expected to include several luxury hotels, world-class golf courses, a luxury spa, marina facilities, commercial developments and private residences, among other features.
“These investment projects have helped to place the sector on a path to recovery while creating more job opportunities for Jamaicans and further fuelling the growth of our tourism and our economy overall,” said Bartlett. The strategic public-private investment partnerships will be crucial to the tourism industry’s economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19.
“The continued show of confidence by investors, even in a pandemic environment, is evidence that Jamaica is still a coveted destination and a powerful global brand. Jamaica’s tourism is ripe for investment. There has never been a better time to invest in Jamaica’s tourism product,” Bartlett added.
The meeting with key CARAIA stakeholders was aimed at discussing the creation of an enabling environment to foster investments, leading to the growth of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises.