Hospitality sector investment growing
More than 3,000 additional hotel rooms are said to be coming on stream in the short to medium term as a result of additional investments in the tourism sector.
Dr Wykeham McNeill, the portfolio minister for the sector, said in the House of Representatives last Tuesday that more than 1,600 new rooms will be added to the country's stock over the next eighteen months.
Additionally, he said there are another 1,500 new rooms being proposed which are at the land acquisition and advanced planning stages.
"These rooms will allow us to enjoy significant growth in our room stock and when they come on stream, will result in Jamaica being able to experience another era of sustained success in our sector," McNeill said as he opened the annual Sectoral Debate in Parliament.
The minister said that since 2012, there has been a steady flow of investment - to the tune of over $54 billion - in the tourism product in Jamaica.
"This surge of investments will generate thousands of new jobs, both in the construction phase and permanent jobs when construction is complete. This will ensure growth in tourism and growth in the economy for years to come," the minister said.
McNeill told fellow legislators that investment is the driver of growth in tourism, as it is for the economy.
He said that in the last few years, Jamaica has had significant local and foreign direct investment. A number of new brands such as Sensatori, Melia, Royalton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Moon Palace are now in Jamaica.
"They have brought a greater degree of diversity to the character of our destination and our tourism product. I welcome the international exposure that comes from the worldwide marketing of these new brands," McNeill said.
He said, too, that he is proud of the local investors who have been the bedrock of Jamaica's industry.