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New Hyatt hotels to help tourism earnings spike

Published:Monday | March 23, 2015 | 3:00 AMJanet Silvera
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (second left) and (from left) Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill, general manager of Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara, Carl Hendriks, and chairman and CEO of Playa Resorts, Bruce Wardinski, cut the ribbon officially opening the island’s newest all-inclusive resorts on Saturday night in Montego Bay, St James.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Jamaica's tourism earnings are poised to increase with the opening of the country's newest all-inclusive resorts, the Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara, at Rose Hall in Montego Bay, St James.

The 620-room dual-branded hotels were officially opened last Friday night in a spectacular ribbon-cutting, punctuated fireworks ceremony by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and the island's tourism and entertainment minister, Dr Wykeham McNeill.

Addressing more than 1,500 guests during the ceremony, Simpson Miller said the provisional gross foreign exchange earnings from tourism between January and December 2014 was in excess of US$2.2 billion.

"The sector for the quarter ending December 31, 2014, grew at a rate of approximately six per cent, and this was achieved even while a number of rooms were out of service," she stated, boasting that the problem of the shortage of rooms was a direct result of the success of Brand Jamaica in the marketplace.

She hailed Hyatt's return to Jamaica as a mark of confidence in the brand and further proof that Jamaica's investment climate is positive. The hotel chain has employed some 1,000 persons in the process and pumped more than US$85 million into the renovation of the iconic property, which was the original home of the Ritz Carlton Rose Hall.

Simpson Miller reiterated statements she made at the recent Jamaica Investment Forum, noting that her Government's goal was to facilitate win-win investments that would bring a good rate of return, and also create the jobs desired for Jamaicans.

JOBCREATIONIMPORTANT

Job creation, she said, was important to every government and was central to the one she leads.

"That is because employment brings stability to families. Stable families give rise to strong communities and motivated people, who are essential for business and investment to thrive."

Her comments were bolstered by McNeill, who commended the owners of the resorts, Playa Hotels and Resorts, for the tremendous investment they have made in transforming the Rose Hall property.

"I am convinced that Jamaica's tourism product will be significantly enhanced by their presence," he said.

Bruce Wardinski, chief executive officer of Playa, described the celebration as a culmination of efforts among Playa, the people of Jamaica and Hyatt.

"For more than three years, we have collectively worked to bring to life a sophisticated and inspired resort that would reflect the warmth and gracious service of Jamaica in an exhilarating and unique environment," he pointed out.

The resorts are being managed by renowned Jamaica-born hotelier Carl Hendriks.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com.