US$1-billion investment

After near 4-year wait, Karisma to break ground for new resort 2020

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter

Monday, November 18, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Karisma Hotels and Resorts last week announced that it will be investing near US$1 billion to build its 4,800 room multi-resort development project in Llandovery, St Ann.

According to Karisma's Vice-President of Corporate Affairs and Business Development Ruben Becerra, ground will be broken next year for the Sugarcane Bay project, the latest addition to the popular luxury chain which boasts 26 properties in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe under several brands, including El Dorado, Azul, Generations, Sensatori and Nickelodeon.

“This has been a long story. We started three-and-a-half years ago and the good news is that everything is ready. All the process that needs to be done is already done,” Becerra said last Thursday, the opening day of the two-day Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit (CHICOS), held at Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay.

The 226-acre property is just 10 minutes outside of Ocho Rios.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett welcomed Becerra's announcement.

“This has been a long-awaited announcement and I am pleased that with all the necessary approvals granted this mega project will begin to get on the way,” Bartlett said. “We are excited as this addition of rooms will ensure we remain on target to securing 15,000 rooms by 2021, bring more visitors, and create more jobs.”

Senior advisor and strategist in the tourism ministry Delano Seiveright noted that Prime Minister Andrew Holness, ministers Bartlett and Daryl Vaz, Shovel Ready Programme lead and Jamaica Tourist Board Chairman John Lynch, JAMPRO and a raft of other key Government stakeholders worked diligently in getting the large and multifaceted project to implementation stage, thereby fully opening the door for the creation of thousands of new jobs and lucrative contracts for many local stakeholders.

The eighth edition of CHICOS, the premier hospitality conference in the region, brought together nearly 300 regional and international investors and operators, as well as the region's leading decision makers.

“Jamaica is hot and the investment conference here is indicative of that. We have never had this aggregation of serious investment prospects congregated in one place for a long time in Jamaica. So we are comfortable that the investment opportunities are not only about hotel rooms. This is a good thing that now we are looking at people wanting to invest on the supply side,” Bartlett said.


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