Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Spanish hotel investors in Jamaica recommit to buying local, despite high costs

Published:Sunday | November 18, 2018 | 1:46 PM
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (far left) engages in discussion with Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica Josep Maria Bosch ( right) at the start of the meeting with Inverotel, the association representing Spanish hotel investors and operators. Also present are: (from left) senior director, Technical Services in the Ministry of Tourism, David Dobson; permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith; Director of Tourism Donovan White and Encarna Pinero, president of Inverotel.

Spanish hoteliers and investors have recommitted to buying more local goods and services, despite complaining of the high cost of goods and services in Jamaica.

In a release today, the tourism ministry said the Spanish group gave the undertaking following a meeting on Friday with officials. The meeting, which sought to discuss various issues impacting the sector, included key members of Inverotel, the association representing Spanish hotel investors and operators, and other officials from the ministries of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and Finance.

“From our Spanish partners, Jamaica’s tourism industry has seen investments amounting to approximately US$1.7billion and about 25 per cent of the rooms built in Jamaica are the product of this Spanish investment," Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett stated.

In this regard, Bartlett said: "It is necessary to have dialogue with these our stakeholders to ensure that we are all on the same page to achieve the kind of growth being targeted and having more local purchases from our partners will benefit our local tourism suppliers and lead to greater economic gains.”

The Spanish hoteliers complained that Jamaica’s average daily rates were among the highest in the region and tourism costs were also high.

In response, the tourism minister assured them that some adjustments were coming, including the lowering of those costs.

President of Inverotel Encarna Pinero, who lead the presentations by the group, said: “We would like to be seen as being on the same side as the Ministry of Tourism as real contributors to the economy and development of the country.”

Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica Josep Maria Bosch added that “bilateral relations between Jamaica and Spain can only get better and we share the importance of tourism and development”.

To ensure demands in agricultural produce are met, the Tourism Agrilinkages Exchange Project (ALEX) app was highlighted as a solution to the group.

ALEX is an online platform created to facilitate the purchase and exchange of goods between farmers and buyers within the local hotel industry.

“With the use of this innovative platform, we will be able to bring our local suppliers and Spanish hoteliers closer to do business all under one roof. Also, through JAMPRO, we will connect with Inverotel’s list of suppliers, which will ensure we meet the heavy demands of the sector,” Bartlett said.

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