Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that Jamaica is undergoing its biggest hotel and resort development boom in any one year, with 8,000 additional hotel rooms in various stages of development and planning, the majority being led by European investors.
Minister Bartlett explained that a total of $2 billion will be invested to bring the 8,000 rooms onstream, resulting in at least 24,000 part-time and full-time jobs and at least 12,000 jobs for construction workers.
Given the magnitude of the investments, Bartlett has expressed the need for seamless coordination, led and anchored by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, as well as multi-ministerial cooperation. Prime Minister Holness and Minister Bartlett are scheduled to participate in several ground-breaking ceremonies in the coming weeks and months.
“We are delighted with the developments in the local tourism industry, which will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the economy and directly benefit thousands of Jamaicans. Indeed, tourism is a supply chain industry that spans multiple economic sectors, including construction, agriculture, manufacturing, banking, and transportation,” said Bartlett.
At least 12,000 construction workers, multiple building contractors, engineers, project managers, and a variety of other specialists will be necessary to assure the timely completion of these projects. Additionally, thousands of tourism workers must be trained in areas such as management, culinary, housekeeping, tour guides, and reception, ” he added.
Properties currently under construction include the 2,000-room Princess Resort in Hanover, which will become Jamaica’s largest resort, and another nearly 2,000 rooms in the multifaceted Hard Rock Resort development, which should consist of at least three other hotel brands. Additionally, just under 1,000 rooms are being built by Sandals and Beaches in St. Ann.
Plans are also underway for the Viva Wyndham Resort north of Negril to have a total of 1,000 rooms, the new RIU Hotel in Trelawny with approximately 700 rooms, and a new Secrets Resort in the Richmond area of St. Ann with around 700 rooms. Bahia Principe has also announced massive expansion plans, by its owners, Grupo Piñero, out of Spain.
Bartlett recently returned from FITUR, the world’s most important annual international travel and tourism trade show, in Madrid, Spain. While there, he participated in a series of high-level meetings with primarily Spanish investors, many of whom own resorts in Jamaica.
Bartlett, who was accompanied by Delano Seiveright, Senior Advisor and Strategist, pointed out that: “To successfully finish major investment projects in record time, an all-hands-on-deck, joined-up government and private sector approach is required.”
“Environmental considerations and collaboration with local stakeholders are also prominent in the developments. Minister Bartlett has tasked the Tourism Enhancement Fund’s Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation to take strategic steps to ensure that current effective worker training and certification programs are expanded in collaboration with hoteliers who have pledged to work closely with the government on this issue,” added Seiveright.