Spanish hoteliers commit to economic development
Becoming significant contributors to economic and overall development of the country are among the goals Spanish hoteliers have indicated they are committed to maintaining, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
The hoteliers, who operate approximately 25 per cent of the rooms in the island, at an investment of US$1.7 billion, met with government officials, including the ministries of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries and finance, last Friday to discuss issues impacting the tourism sector.
The investors were represented by Inverotel.
In its release, the ministry says Spanish investors have recommitted to buying more local goods and services, an area which has been a bone of contention for leakage.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett noted that this was in a bid to have all stakeholders on the same page, while achieving the kind of growth being targeted, where more local purchases benefit Jamaican tourism suppliers and lead to greater economic gains.
Discussions from the meeting included training and certification of staff, and strengthening linkages, especially in manufacturing and agriculture, security, ground transportation, custom duties, and entertainment.
President of Inverotel, Encarna Pinero, who led 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: "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," added Bartlett.