Hotels opened in MoBay represent US$150-m investment

Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Prime Minister Andrew Holness and a team from the Ministry of Tourism officially opened three hotels in Montego Bay between Sunday and Monday night.

The properties — which include Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort and Spa, formerly Palmyra; Breathless Montego Bay Resort and Spa and Zoetry Montego Bay, represent an investment of US$150 million. The hotels have provided nearly 500 new and refurbished rooms and nearly 1,000 new jobs.

Delivering the keynote address ahead of officially opening Breathless Montego Bay Resort and Spa, Prime Minister Holness noted that demand for Jamaica's tourism product continues to grow.

“Jamaica is aggressively expanding its tourism base by continuing to offer a quality experience, supported by a range of major infrastructure improvements to secure our place as the preferred destination,” the prime minister said.

He added: “Today's (Monday) official opening of Breathless Montego Bay Resort and Spa is yet another signal that there is a premium on our various tourism offerings and that the Government of Jamaica, in collaboration with partners in the tourism sector, will continue to expand and enhance our tourism sector in order to strengthen Jamaica's position as a world leader in tourism.”

AMResorts property, Breathless Montego Bay Resort and Spa, is located next to sister properties Secrets St James Montego Bay, Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, and Sunscape Montego Bay. Surrounded by Montego Bay Marine Park, the high-tech 150-suite resort boasts a chic design and state-of-the-art technology, including free Wi-Fi and in-room tablets. It also features a beach club, fire pits, cabanas, five bars and lounges, and themed parties.

Jamaica Tourist Board Chairman John Lynch, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Jennifer Griffith, and Senior Advisor and Strategist Delano Seiveright, officially opened the property.

Another, AMResorts-run Zoetry Montego Bay, formerly Coyaba — a boutique resort along Montego Bay's Elegant Corridor with 49 suites designed with a holistic approach in three main buildings: Wood & Water, Bamboo and Blue Mountain, a nod to Jamaica's ecological tapestry — was officially opened Monday afternoon after a multimillion-US$ renovation.

Late last year, several managed funds under the umbrella of Sagicor Group Limited acquired 217 units in the incomplete Palmyra condo complex and an adjoining non-functioning power plant for US$53 million. The property was subsequently renovated and expanded to create the 16-acre beachfront Jewel Grande Montego Bay and Spa.

With 217 junior suites, penthouses and villa accommodations totalling 299 rooms, Jewel Grande Montego Bay and Spa is described as Jamaica's foremost luxury condominium resort with features such as a 30,000-square-foot, Italian villa inspired full-service spa boasting a Himalayan salt halotherapy lounge;,personal butler service, and two oceanfront swimming pools.

According to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, his ministry continues to work assiduously to grow the economy and create more jobs by driving growth in the sector.

“Our Government's tourism team has been working around the clock to get more business into Jamaica so that we can create thousands more jobs, grow revenues, and contribute significantly to Prime Minister Holness'S aggressive growth strategy.

“It is bearing fruit and we have more work to do as we are absolutely serious about spreading the benefits of tourism and deepening linkages throughout the nation's society,” Bartlett told the Jamaica Observer before departing the island for Qatar on Monday.

He was invited by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and the Government of Qatar to give official remarks and attain special recognition at proceedings for World Tourism Day in Qatar — a small but very wealthy nation in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, pointing to growing talk about upcoming hotel developments around the island, Seiveright noted that Minister Bartlett, Lynch and other team members are aggressively courting hotel interests in Jamaica and around the globe to bring more developments to the island.

“The interest is strong and Bartlett has everyone going 24/7 in bringing in investments. We are already seeing a number of developments already in train and on the way soon in Kingston and along the entire north coast,” Seiveright said.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness, while speaking at the launch of JAPEX at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, congratulated Bartlett and his team for their unrelenting work, noting that their work has resulted in the industry growing strongly so far this year.

“For the first time in eight months of 2017, there was a 6.9 per cent increase in stopover arrivals in comparison to the corresponding period for 2016. In addition, cruise passenger arrivals were up 5.1 per cent for January to August,” Holness stated.

He added: “From a total of 2,827,261 visitors in that eight-month period, Jamaica earned US $1.98 billion or 8.3 per cent more in gross foreign exchange earnings than the US$1.83 billion earned last year over the same period.”




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