Fri | Sep 20, 2019

Gov’t sells 300 acres of land to Karisma Hotel

Published:Thursday | September 12, 2019 | 12:19 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Bartlett
Bartlett

WESTERN BUREAU:

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has announced that the Government has finalised the sale of approximately 300 acres of state-owned lands in Salem, St Ann, to the Karisma Hotel and Resorts group.

Under the ‘Sugar Cane Project’, Karisma plans to build 10 hotels over 10 years, with a total of 5,000 rooms, which is expected to create direct employment for 10,000 Jamaicans.

The acquisition of the St Ann property, which fits into Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ plans to operate 35 resorts worldwide by 2020, is also aimed at capitalising on ongoing tourism growth in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

The company has 26 properties in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe under several brands, including El Dorado, Azul, Generations, Sensatori and Nickelodeon.

“The government of Jamaica has finalised the sale of lands in Salem, St Ann, with hotel developers from Karisma, for the construction of 3,000 rooms in several phases,” said Bartlett, in a speech which was read on his behalf by Godfrey Dyer, chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, who represented him at the opening ceremony of the 2019 staging of the Jamaica Product Exchange trade show in Montego Bay, St James.

“The first of these phases will commence later this year with the construction of 700 rooms,” noted Bartlett.

He said the emphasis of the ministry of tourism is to develop new tourism product to differentiate Jamaica from other destinations, while at the same time meeting the needs of the increasingly discerning traveller.

“We are creating products to enhance Jamaica’s appeal to the growing experiential tourism market,” noted Bartlett.

ROOM STOCK GROWTH

With the way now clear for Karisma to commence its multibillion-dollar investment in the hospitality sector, Bartlett said the country’s room stock is poised to boom.

“Our accommodation sector is booming, creating a quality and diverse mix to suit the taste of both local and international visitors,” said Bartlett. “At the same time, these new hotel developments are fuelling sector growth.”

Bartlett also noted that the current level in room stock is poised for further growth with RIU Ocho Rios, which is reopening later this month, adding another 790 rooms.