Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Growth & Jobs | Couldn't be more friendly - Hotelier gives thumbs up to Jamaica's business climate

Published:Tuesday | July 4, 2017 | 7:03 AMJanet Silvera
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second right) on a guided tour of Sensatori Jamaica with the hotel group’s Rafael Feliz (left) and Reuben Beccera. In the background are tourism minister Edmund Bartlett (centre) and other members of the delegation.
Azul Sensatori resort in Negril.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

Reiterating his company's commitment to invest some US$1 billion in several hotel projects, totalling 5,000 rooms on Jamaica's northern coast, Karisma Hotels & Resorts Chairman Rafael Feliz said Jamaica business climate could not have been friendlier to investors.

Felix, who was speaking at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for 149 new suites at the luxury high-end Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica last Thursday, added that not only is his company here to stay, but feels Jamaica's tourism is on an upward spiral and on course to becoming the first choice destination in the region.

"We have to take our hats off to the Jamaican authorities for their understanding of the importance of tourism to development," he noted. "Our Sugarcane project, which will see some 5,000 rooms over the next few years is well on stream and we are happy to be doing our part in contributing to this wonderful tourism product.

Prime Minister Holness, who was also on hand for the ceremony, welcomed the multi-million US dollar investment by Karisma, adding that he was looking forward to their, "build out in Jamaica offering unique experiences to our visitors".

Holness added that, "Jamaica is attaining the critical mass to maintain its competitiveness with increased room stock, availability of airlifts and easier transportation via sea, air and land."

The combined Azul Beach resort offers 10 room categories with many having swim-up suites. Facilities include 10 restaurants, eight bars and lounges, a spa, a gym, a children's playhouse and more.

... 'All projections for visitor arrivals exceeded'

 

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is probably the happiest person in the tourism sector with recorded growth and records being broken in the sector.

Bartlett who was present at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for 149 new suites at the luxury high-end Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Jamaica last Thursday, said the projection in the industry was that the millionth visitor would arrive on or about the end of June.

"However, I am pleased to note that all projections were exceeded and at the end of May," he said. "There were 973,000 stop-over visitors to the island, rising sharply to over a million before mid-June."

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Daryl Vaz; Opposition Tourism Spokesman and MP Dr Wykeham McNeill; Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), John Lynch and Senior Advisor Delano Seiveright were among those who were also on hand for the event.

Karisma Hotels & Resorts plans to operate 35 resorts worldwide by 2020, building on recent growth in the Caribbean and Mexico. The growing hotel company currently has 26 properties in Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, under several brands, including El Dorado, Azul, Generations, Sensatori and Nickelodeon.