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Jewel seals booking deal with Hilton Worldwide Curio brand

Published:Wednesday | April 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill has welcomed Curio - A Collection by Hilton to the growing list of top brands that have taken a keen interest in Jamaica as the top tourist destination in the Caribbean.

Sagicor's Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa Runaway Bay, and Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort & Spa Ocho Rios have become two of the latest Curio properties - and the first in the Caribbean, to join the newest of Hilton's world-class global brand. Signing of the agreement was announced Tuesday (March 31) at a joint press conference by McNeill, Sagicor president and CEO Richard Byles and global head of Curio - A Collection by Hilton, Dianna Vaughan, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

The deal also received the endorsement of senior vice-president for the Caribbean of Ambridge Hospitality, Rich Cortesse. Ambridge is the management company for the Jewels resorts.

The Jewel brand was started by Sagicor four years ago with one property. With subsequent acquisitions, there are now four properties with a fifth under construction in Kingston's golden triangle.

investing in Jamaica

Congratulating the Sagicor team, McNeill said, "Over the last four years, what Sagicor has done is phenomenal. Sagicor Group has not just talked the talk, they have walked the walk; they have put their money where their mouth is; they have invested in Jamaica and in tourism. That investment has paid off for them and they have reinvested."

McNeill added, "These are the things that are going to bring growth to the tourism sector and growth to the economy."

Byles disclosed that since launching out with Jewel Dunn's River four years ago, Sagicor has invested more than US$140 million in three more properties, growing the brand's room count to 1,300.

"Alongside that growth has come good occupancies, improving rates, and an excellent track record of customer service," he added.

He said the listing of Sagicor X Fund on the stock exchange a few months ago to give Jamaicans the opportunity to invest in the tourism business "has been a big success for us."

According to Byles, "It says a lot for Jamaica and for tourism that the Hilton wants to stay in this country and indeed wants to deepen its relationship with the country through its Curio brand. It must mean that we are doing something good with the country and with tourism in particular. We, too, are very bullish on Jamaica and on tourism, and we will continue to invest."