Braco set to reopen for 2015/16 winter tourist season

Monday, April 27, 2015

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THE 225-room government-owned Braco Village is scheduled to reopen for the 2015/16 winter tourist season as the Meliá Braco Village, and is expected to provide hundreds of jobs for residents of Trelawny and nearby parishes in the western end of the island.

A groundbreaking ceremony at the Trelawny property, on the weekend, signalled the start of a comprehensive renovation project ahead of the hotel's grand reopening as part of the Meliá Hotels & Resorts' brand all inclusive portfolio.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill welcomed Meliá to the growing list of top hotel and resort chains that are investing in Jamaica as the preferred Caribbean tourist destination, describing their presence as a show of confidence.

"As minister I want to welcome the Meliá Group; it's one of the largest hotel chains in the world, and their coming to Jamaica in this expansion programme is a show of confidence in our destination and in Brand Jamaica," said Dr McNeill. "I believe we're going to have a long and successful relationship," he added.

"... At this point in time tourism in Jamaica is very positive; arrivals are up, the hotels are full, the airports are bursting at the seams and when occupancies are up it drives demand and that in turn drives investment. We are now seeing the fruits of that investment," said an upbeat McNeill.

He said the refurbishing and expansion of the Braco hotel was part of a 'burst of investment' in tourism over the past three years, to the tune of over $54 billion, adding that more is in store.

"The investment that we have on the books now will bring another 1,600 new rooms to Jamaica over the next 18 months and a number of those rooms are right here in Trelawny," said the tourism minister.

With Meliá's plans to expand the property, it is projected that the renovation of the existing facility and construction of an additional 250 rooms will provide as many as 700 jobs, after which the hotel will have some 400 employees.

Reopening of the property is slated for December 2015.

The hotel's general manager, Dimitris Kosvogiannis, stressed that all the employees will be Jamaican. "I consider it my solemn duty to assure that we'll optimise the Jamaican labour force."

With a working knowledge of Jamaica, spanning 20 years, Kosvogiannis said, "there is no one that can convince me ... that Jamaican human resources do not produce very capable and highly intelligent individuals that can sit at the helm of any organisation."

He said: "While we will respect and learn the know-how of our overseas colleagues, we will never do so at the expense of a Jamaican worker or their opportunity to be employed, trained and flourish."

The Meliá Braco Village will have two hotels on one all-inclusive property, catering to couples and families as well as providing exclusive concierge level brand service for other guests.

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