Mon | Dec 16, 2019

Bartlett projects tourist arrivals to Jamaica to pass 5 million next year; 7,000 new hotel rooms in 10 years

Published:Sunday | November 17, 2019 | 1:24 PM
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (left), converses with his St Lucian counterpart, Dominic Fedee, during a Government Leaders panel discussion at the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations (CHICOS) Summit at the Secrets Wild Orchard and St James Resorts in Montego Bay on November 15.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is projecting that tourist arrivals to Jamaica will pass five million next year, even as the island's hotel room stock is poised to increase by some 7,000 in 10 years, based on new developments slated to come on stream.

“For the next budget. I will have to review the 5x5x5 objective. We are now 4.4 million arrivals… [and] by next year we would have passed the five (million mark). When the cruise development comes, which is a whole new game to talk about in terms of what Falmouth will look like in 2022 to 2023, we are expecting to double the arrivals for cruise. We are expecting to see two million arrivals in Falmouth alone,” Bartlett outlined at the just-concluded Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations (CHICOS) Summit at the Secrets Wild Orchid and St James Resorts in Montego Bay.

Among the new hotel rooms he listed were: the Princess Hotel in Hanover with 2,000 rooms; the 1700-room Hard Rock Casino Hotel in St. James; Harmony Cove in Trelawny with 3,000 rooms; and the Marriott International all-inclusive resort with 800 rooms.

The minister said these engagements are projected to generate some 50,000 jobs, noting that this significant level of investment will serve to further boost Jamaica’s economy.

Bartlett boasted that the number of tourism investments slated for Jamaica “doesn’t represent a wish list”.

 “These are hard prospects. These are people who have already bought lands and are in the process of getting approval through the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the other regulatory agencies of Jamaica. So we know that this is going to happen; this is going to be an explosion for us,” he said.

Against this background, Bartlett called for multi-stakeholder preparations to capitalise on the industry’s anticipated hotel “boom”, as well as, the projected increase in cruise ship arrivals by 2023.

Meanwhile, Bartlett revealed that the CHICOS Summit has yielded significant investment opportunities for Jamaica and the rest of the region, noting that a number of contractual arrangements have been inked with regional and international investors.

The two-day CHICOS Summit, which concluded on November 15, brought together regional and international investors, operators and decision-makers to discuss possibilities for Caribbean markets, while analysing trends that can impact investment decisions.

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