Bartlett’s Tourism Workers Pension Plan Gets Full Backing of Spanish Hoteliers

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Spanish Hotel interests this morning gave their support for the government’s ground-breaking Tourism Workers Pension Scheme whilst however noting the importance of it being carefully managed in a closed door meeting with them in Spain today.

Spanish Hotel Tycoon, Abel Matutes, founder of Palladium Hotel Group, owners of Grand Palladium Resort in Hanover, Jamaica and former Foreign Affairs Minister of Spain, stressed the importance of ensuring that the Pension plan is managed at the highest standards to ensure that workers ultimately benefit.

Matutes noted that several pension schemes in the Western world have run into serious trouble due to poor management among other matters. Nonetheless, he expressed full support for the new arrangement as a critical “social security” tool for workers of the industry.

Bartlett responded assuring Matutes of the varying systems in place to ensure that the Pension scheme is operated at the very highest standards of governance.

The Tourism Workers Pension Scheme is managed by a Board of Trustees, which is currently in the process of procuring an Investment Manager and an Administrator to manage investments and the operations of the Scheme. The Scheme is also Tax exempt and regulated by the Financial Services Commission.

“As soon as the Fund Manager has been appointed, J$250 million will be disbursed to seed the fund from the Tourism Enhancement Fund so that if workers who have contributed for only 5 years and reach their retirement age of 65 they will get a guaranteed minimum pension,” Bartlett noted following the closed door meeting.

The Ministry of Tourism has been carrying out pension sensitization sessions across the island to update tourism workers on the next steps of the pension scheme.

The Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme is designed to cover all workers ages 18-59 year in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed.

This includes hotel workers, as well as persons employed in related industries such as craft vendors, tour operators, red cap porters, contract carriage operators and workers at attractions.

Founders, Owners and Senior Executives of the largest Hotels and resorts in Jamaica under the Inverotel umbrella, an association representing Spanish Hoteliers and Operators, met with Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, JTB Head Donovan White and Senior Advisor/Strategist, Delano Seiveright Spain’s capital city, Madrid today.

Representatives included the owners’ of three of the largest hotels in the Jamaica: Grupo Pinero owners of Bahia Principe, Ms. Encarna Pinero, who also Chairs Inverotel; Iberostar’s, Mr. Miguel Fluxa and Grand Palladium’s, Abel Matutes.

Spanish Hotel Investors have pumped approximately US$1.7 billion or J$238 billion into the Jamaican economy in recent years and represent 25 per cent of hotel rooms.

A further US$750 million or J$105 Billion in investments representing an additional 3,000 rooms is already in motion with the continued development of the new Spanish owned H10 resort in Trelawny and the planned development of the island’s largest resort by Princess Resorts in Hanover.

Minister Bartlett is currently in Spain participating in FITUR, the largest International Tourism Trade Fair for inbound and outbound Ibero-American markets.

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