1,488 workers in the Jamaica tourism industry have either lost their jobs or were laid off in the last 12 months.
The information was shared in the Senate on Friday by Senator A J Nicholson, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade and leader of government business in the Upper House.
The figure, he said, includes 120 people from the Braco Resort in Trelawny, 352 from the Starfish hotel, 600 from Ritz-Carlton, and 326 from the Wyndham Kingston.
However, Senator Nicholson, who was answering questions posed by Leader of Opposition Business in the Upper House Senator Arthur Williams, said that the hotels, which “are currently closed, are being refurbished and the new managers have advised that many of the displaced staff will be guaranteed re-employment.”
In the meantime, he said the Starfish hotel is scheduled to reopen in October this year, under the name Royalton White Sands, and will hire about 400 workers. The Ritz-Carlton should open its doors between April and May of 2014 and will be rebranded Memories Negril Resort and Spa.
Senator Nicholson said that no date has been set for the Wyndham Kingston to reopen, as the property is in receivership.
According to figures from the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, six hotels have either been closed or changed ownership over the last 12 to 18 months. Employment figures collected for the accommodation sub-sector by the Jamaica Tourist Board show that the number of people employed directly in the sector was 34,921 in the 2011-2012 financial year. The ministry said this was actually a 5.7 per cent decrease over the previous year, which saw 37,018 people employed in the sector.