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PM sets environment benchmark amid hotel boom

Published:Sunday | April 14, 2019 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson - Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (sixth left), Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett (seventh left), Industry and Commerce Minister Audley Shaw (fifth right) and Amaterra Group Chairman Keith Russell (second right) taking part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 8,000 hotel rooms by the Amaterra Group in Stewart Castle, Trelawny. The ceremony took place on Friday, April 12.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that greater focus will have to be placed on the environment when Jamaica’s hospitality room stock reaches 50,000 within the next decade.

He made the declaration while delivering the keynote address at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 8,000 rooms by the Amaterra Group in Stewart Castle, Trelawny, on Friday. The project will be carried out over several phases, starting with 800 rooms in the first instance.

“We will reach 50,000 rooms in the next decade or less, and after that, we will have to consider very carefully the balance between the number of rooms and the environment, and our strategy in the shift from numbers and quantity to quality and experience,” said Holness.

“We are now in that phase where we are seeking to reimage, and we want you to reimagine Jamaican tourism as the high-value, high-quality destination. We have all the elements to achieve that and we are working towards that,” the prime minister added, urging investors to get in on the action because the trajectory of the value of the industry is going to take off rapidly.

Four hundred more rooms will be built shortly.

The Amaterra Group is a mixed-use land-development company incorporated in Jamaica in July 2002 and is the master developer for the Amaterra Resort and related companies. The company has been seeking to begin the development project in Stewart Castle since 1989.

Keith Russell, founder and chairman of the Amaterra Group, said that upon completion, the project will be a game changer for the tourism industry.

“It sits on 27 acres of prime beachfront property surrounded by an amphitheatre-shaped ridge that will offer guests the ultimate privacy and security,” said Russell, who is a former member of parliament for Northern Trelawny.

Partners in the project include beachfront resort development firm Tourism and Leisure Development International, and financial group Rexton Capital Partners Limited.

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