Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica’s hotel room stock is poised to double within 10 years, based on developments slated to come on stream.
Among these, he said, are: the Princess Hotel in Hanover with 2,000 rooms; the 1700-room Hard Rock Casino Hotel in St James; Harmony Cove in Trelawny with 3,000 rooms; and the Marriot International all-inclusive resort with 800 rooms.
The minister said these engagements are projected to generate some 50,000 jobs, noting that this significant level of investment will serve to further boost Jamaica’s economy.
He was speaking during the just concluded Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations (CHICOS) Summit held at the Secrets Wild Orchid and St James Resorts in Montego Bay, St James.
Bartlett pointed out that the number of tourism entities that will be investing in Jamaica “doesn’t represent a wish list”.
“These are hard prospects. These are people who have already bought lands and are in the process of getting approval through the National Environment and Planning Agency and the other regulatory agencies of Jamaica. So we know that this is going to happen; this is going to be an explosion for us,” he said.
Against this background, Bartlett called for multi-stakeholder preparations to capitalise on the industry’s anticipated “boom” consequent on, among other things, the projected increase in cruise ship arrivals by 2023.
“For the next budget I will have to review the 5x5x5 objective. We are now 4.4 million arrivals… [and] by next year we would have passed the five (million mark). When the cruise development comes, which is a whole new game to talk about in terms of what Falmouth will look like in 2022 to 2023, we are expecting to double the arrivals for cruise. We are expecting to see two million arrivals in Falmouth alone,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bartlett advised that the CHICOS Summit yielded significant investment opportunities for Jamaica and the rest of the region, noting that a number of contractual arrangements have been inked with regional and international investors.
He said the opportunity afforded Jamaica to successfully host the conference was welcome as “we also had a chance to review our own competitiveness in relation to our Caribbean partners”.
The two-day CHICOS Summit, which concluded on November 15, brought together regional and international investors, operators and decision-makers to discuss possibilities for Caribbean markets, while analysing trends that can impact investment decisions.