Business

Hotel developers to spend $76 billion on projects in Jamaica

...through to 2015

Friday, June 06, 2014    

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HOTEL developers are expected to spend $76 billion through to 2015 on projects already in the pipeline for Jamaica.

Some of the 10 properties, which will add 2,300 rooms to Jamaica's room count within two years, have already begun or have already been completed, according to the Government filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Carib Hospitality is spending $1.8 billion on its ongoing hotel development of the 130-room Courtyard by Marriott in New Kingston, while the RIU group spent $3.9 billion to open the 232-room RIU Palace in December 2013.

Additionally, the Tourism and Leisure Development International (TLDI) group is currently spending some $9 billion to build 520 new rooms for a Playa Hotel.

Still to come is a $2.2-billion medical tourism hospital facility to be built by Spanish-based Hospiten group.

Phase two of the Fiesta Group's Grand Lady Paladium hotel, which is projected to cost $20 billion to build the 800-room hotel, is still awaiting building approval and a casino gaming licence.

"The former Grand Lido Braco, Royal Decameron at Paradise Cove, Ritz-Carlton, Poncianna and Breezes Runaway Bay are under new management and are currently undergoing, and will reopen after, major refurbishment," said the Government filing to the SEC. "Approximately $12 billion has been committed to refurbishing these properties.

"The Grand Lido Braco is under refurbishment and expansion. The Ritz-Carlton is still under construction and expansion to reopen as Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall with an additional 193 rooms."

The tabulation of these projects, which runs between 2013 to 2015, is meant to show that the island can attract investment.

In addition to the private sector investments, the notice speaks to the long-delayed, Government-conceived Harmony Cove project, which once again aims to start this year.

"Construction on the first phase of the project is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2014 with a total Phase One budget of approximately US$800 million," said the filing. "Phase One is expected to take approximately three years to complete.

"Full build-out of all phases of the project is expected to be completed within the next 10 years, based upon demand."

The plan for the Harmony Cove resort, to be located in Trelawny, includes several upscale hotels and residences totalling 5,000 units and a full range of amenities.

Just under one million tourists visited the island over the first three months of 2014, which represented a 2.4 per cent dip year-on-year due to a dip in cruise arrivals.

"The decreases of total visitors and cruise passengers were primarily due to the decline in calls to the ports of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios," stated the notice.

In 2013, the tourism industry earned some US$2 billion in foreign exchange, which represented 59.5 per cent of gross foreign exchange earnings from the productive sector last year, excluding remittance inflows.

Total visitor arrivals hit 3.27 million in 2013 or one per cent less than a year earlier.

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