Mon | Mar 19, 2018

Calling local investors - Tourism minister urges financial entities to free up capital for Jamaicans to invest in the sector

Published:Sunday | December 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill addressing the recent Mayberry Investors Forum.
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill (left) having a chat with Chief Executive Officer of Mayberry Investments Ltd Gary Peart (centre) and Tom Tyler, chief executive officer of Caribbean Producers Jamaica, at the latest Mayberry Investors Forum.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill is again urging players in the financial sector to make capital more readily available to local investors so they can grasp the tremendous opportunities now available in the booming tourism sector.

Addressing the latest Mayberry Investment Limited monthly Investors Forum, McNeill argued that efforts to boost investments by Jamaicans in the tourism sector will be as a result of an increase in the access to the capital needed.

"Our tourism sector is enjoying unprecedented expansion. This investment wave is bigger in scope than anything we have ever seen before. But while this is happening more Jamaicans should look at the tourism sector as a great area for investment and can reap healthy returns," said McNeill.


Facilitate investment


"We need to establish systems to facilitate investment in the tourism sector, finding ways to put management and capital together. So I am encouraging corporate Jamaica to open the doors," added McNeill.

The tourism minister noted that the sector continues to enjoy a massive expansion, and argued that more Jamaicans need to take advantage of the investment opportunities as they present themselves.

"Jamaica's tourism sector is taking off, doing very well, and there's a reason for that; the first has to do with the current state of our economy. The reality of the situation is that investors are looking at Jamaica and are feeling very positive about the direction in which our economy is moving.

"Further expansion will continue over a four to 10-year period with the construction of an additional 7,000 new rooms. These include 4,000 rooms to be added by the Karisma Group, 2,500 which will be added by China Harbour, and 800 rooms which will be added by Ocean," said McNeill.

He said 2,500 new rooms are either under construction, being renovated or to come on stream by the end of the year, and that is expected to see an exceptional expansion in the tourism sector.

According to McNeill, Jamaicans can latch on to the tourism boom by either direct investment or by exploiting its linkages with other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and entertainment.

The tourism minister note that since 2012 there has been a steady flow of investment in hotels in Jamaica, both by local and foreign investors with some J$64 billion in investments.

He added: "There are opportunities under the Fiscal Incentives Act to develop attractions and upgrade smaller properties and take them up to four and five stars establishments. The setback, however, is that people just do not have the capital. Players in corporate Jamaica should step up and implement a system that will provide access to capital."