Sun | Feb 5, 2023

Seiveright: Largest-ever investments in tourism industry

Published:Friday | December 2, 2022 | 12:08 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer


POINTING TO the projected addition of 4,000 rooms to the hotel sector, senior adviser and strategist in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright, has said that the industry is now experiencing the largest wave of investments in Jamaica.

“Just for Hanover alone, we have 4,000 new rooms coming on stream over the next three to five years, and that would include Princess with 2,000 rooms. We have Viva Wyndham coming with 1,000 rooms, and Grand Palladium coming with another 900 rooms; and that’s just for the parish of Hanover,” said Seiveright, while touring Negril earlier this week.

The government official said that his visit to western Jamaica was geared towards meeting key stakeholders in the tourist community, including the Negril Chamber of Commerce, to talk about what is required to ensure that the capacity ties of Negril and the wider parishes of Hanover and Westmoreland are expanded to meet the increasing number of investments. This includes more workers, more housing, and a greater need for other supporting infrastructure.

“We have to ensure that we are ready for that,” he said. “There are things that we have done in recent times to improve the community of Negril in terms of the quality and the feel of the community, certainly the famous ‘Negril’ sign has been one that we know has gathered a lot of attention, but has become really a significant attraction here in western Jamaica.”

Seiveright said the tourism ministry has also teamed up with the National Works Agency to install speeding bumps along the Norman Manley Boulevard, and they will continue to work closely with the business community in Negril to see how best they can improve the tourism sector.

“We will continue to see how best we can implement measures through other agencies, and other parts of government, to improve the capacity of Negril and to ensure that the people of Negril, and the people of the parishes of Westmoreland and Hanover, can see and feel the benefits of tourism,” he noted.

Seiveright related that the tourism ministry is aware that there is a labour supply issue globally, just as there is a worldwide product supply issue, and this has impacted wages and inflation and the cost of production. Therefore, the ministry has been working with its agencies and stakeholders to see how best they can upskill persons into some of these roles.

President of the Negril Chamber of Commerce Richard Wallace shared that the business community is pleased that Negril is now getting a vast number of investments.

Wallace, who is also a hotelier in Negril, “Four thousand additional rooms is great. However, we have to make sure that the infrastructure is in place and that we have the workers to supply these hotels, and housing, and stuff like that.”

He added that one of the things to be also cognisant of is security, because they do not want the occupants of these 4,000 new rooms, plus other visitors, to stay locked up inside the hotels, but to be able to venture into the local area so that more Jamaicans can benefit from tourism.

“So while it’s a great thing for this additional investment now, it would be of no use to us if we are not prepared for it.”