Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
AS THE Sagicor Group stamps its presence on the very competitive tourism sector, the local investors have opened their third Jamaican resort in the garden parish of St Ann.
Last Saturday, the insurance conglomerate officially opened Jewel Paradise Cove in Runaway Bay, sister to their flagship Jewel Dunn's River and Jewel Runaway Bay. This is Sagicor's third luxury all-inclusive resort operated by Aimbridge Hospitality.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill hailed the group, describing their latest move as proof that Jamaica still boasts a welcoming investment climate and that tourism's future remains bright.
McNeill noted that in a few short years, Sagicor has become a major player in the sustainable development of the local hotel sector.
"I encourage others to follow in Sagicor's footsteps," he said.
Particularly elated at the growing trend of investment by both local and international investors in the tourism sector, McNeill said the Government's confidence that there is a bright future for tourism is well founded.
New hospitality benchmarks
The minister's comments come weeks after Sagicor Life Jamaica President and CEO Richard Byles stated: "We continue to set new hospitality benchmarks on the island. The new Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa emphasises the genuine warmth and service of our 300-strong staff, under the competent direction of veteran Jamaican hotelier and Jewel Paradise Cove general manager, Barbara Burton."
Added Byles: "The hotel boasts the signature amenities and service levels that are the model for all three Jewel Resorts," emphasised Byles.
Describing the dynamic financial services group as one of Jamaica's most committed partners, McNeill said, "An investment in our tourism product is an investment in our people, as it provides employment, exposes our rich cultural heritage to a wider market and generates foreign exchange to support our economy".
The 225-room resort is the most inclusive of the three Jewel properties and embraces the cultural and adventurous surroundings of the region.
Jewel Paradise Cove includes scuba diving and resort course, sunset cruise, Dunn's River Falls tour, a shopping tour, complimentary wi-fi and much more as standard in its all-inclusive rate. The resort is also the first to introduce an expanded all-inclusive health, spa and fitness theme, and includes juice and smoothie bars throughout the property, a variety of healthy cuisine options, and an extensive list of watersports, and fitness classes with most activities included in its pricing.