Sat | May 25, 2019

CHICOS conference is wealth creation opportunity for Jamaica – Bartlett

Published:Wednesday | May 15, 2019 | 12:21 AM
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (second right) and (from left) Gabriel Heron, vice-president of marketing, JAMPRO; Parris Jordan, CHICOS chairman; Diane Edwards, president, JAMPRO; and Fernando Fernandez, vice-president of development, Apple Leisure Group, share a joyous moment after the recent launch of the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit in Kingston.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (second right) and (from left) Gabriel Heron, vice-president of marketing, JAMPRO; Parris Jordan, CHICOS chairman; Diane Edwards, president, JAMPRO; and Fernando Fernandez, vice-president of development, Apple Leisure Group, share a joyous moment after the recent launch of the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit in Kingston.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has said that the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit (CHICOS) is an opportunity for Jamaica to further promote its diverse tourism offerings and create wealth. He made the comments at the launch of CHICOS recently at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel.

Bartlett said that the agencies under his ministry were pleased to partner with JAMPRO, HVS, Apple Leisure Group and AM Resorts for the event, which will take place from November 14-15 this year.

“As partners, we’ve created the opportunities for CHICOS 2019. We’re excited about it because of the business of conferences, meetings and conventions, and other activities that bring people together to celebrate the business of tourism, but more so to look at investment options, and how to create wealth; because the business of tourism is about creating wealth,” Bartlett said.

He explained that with some 300 people expected to attend CHICOS 2019, there would be discussions around tourism investments and exploration of how productivity, enrichment of local talent and competitiveness can be improved in Jamaica and the Caribbean region on the whole.

The tourism minister noted that investing in the sector was not just about building more hotels, but strengthening the industry, impacting other sectors like agriculture, sport, and building the consumers’ experiences while on the island. He said, “The essence of tourism for the Caribbean is not about building more rooms; it’s about building the capacity of the region to absorb the demand that tourists require, and that capacity lies in our ability to invest more in the experiences that will be consumed by the visitor.”

The other planning partners said they were excited to bring CHICOS to Jamaica. It will be the first time that the regional conference will take place in the island.

The event will further position Jamaica as a leader in the tourism industry and an attractive destination for tourism investments, building on the sector’s current success. This includes record growth for the past three years, surpassing the average growth target of five per cent per annum. Last year, Jamaica welcomed a record-breaking 4.32 million visitors who spent US$3.3 billion, representing an 8.6 per cent increase over the US$3 billion earned in 2017.

“We are pleased to bring this important conference to the island nation of Jamaica,” said CHICOS Chairman Parris Jordan. “Jamaica will benefit from serving as host nation, as numerous hotel industry leaders and investors will be in attendance. Additionally, CHICOS will work with the Government to showcase Jamaica’s development sites for hotel projects.”

Javier Coll, executive vice-president and chief strategy officer of Apple Leisure Group, also commented on his organisation’s involvement in the conference. “Jamaica has been an integral part of our growth strategy for years, and it remains a strong investment opportunity for resort development with its abundance of natural beauty and welcoming culture. We are committed to supporting the country’s economic growth and anticipate our resorts will offer the perfect location to foster fruitful discussions on the future of Jamaica and the Caribbean’s tourism industry.”

JAMPRO President Diane Edwards said that the thrust towards new investments in Jamaica’s hotel industry includes targeting the development of luxury properties, timeshares and attractions. It is the perfect time to have the investment conference in Jamaica, she said. “We are pleased to welcome such a prestigious event to Jamaica, as it will serve to further increase Jamaica’s profile and visibility as a premier tourist destination and position the country as the most attractive destination for tourism investments in the region.”

The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO)’s mission is to drive economic development through growth in investment and export.