Click here to print page

Altamont Hotels bullish about tourism

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Altamont Hotels group is feeling bullish about the hospitality industry in Jamaica, especially with visitor arrivals climbing consistently in Montego Bay, based on current numbers, breaking previous records.

This position was communicated by Christopher Jarrett, 2019 Hotelier of the Year, managing director and CEO of the Altamont Hotels, with properties in New Kingston and the Hip Strip in Montego Bay.

Jarrett, who is also vice-president of the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA) and chairman of the Kingston chapter of the JHTA, said that with consumer confidence remaining high, businesses are expected to grow.

“I am seeing a good picture of the future of the hospitality industry in Jamaica, but we have to ensure that the persons who represent us, like our employees, are well-trained to deliver the type of service the well-travelled and discriminating visitor expects,” he said.

As the boutique hotel group seeks to grow its brand locally and internationally, Jarrett said with the hotel room stock increasing at a rapid pace, competition is now fierce. Therefore, his hotel chain has to focus on distinguishing its brand through the high international standards of its offerings.

“The new landscape forces small hotels like us to pay more attention to refurbishing and modernising our plant, complemented by a consistently high level of personalised, customer-friendly service which is only achievable through continuous training,” Jarrett explained. “This means that our savings now have to be used for working capital, especially because of high interest rates on loans, crime and stiff competition.”

In addition, he said the Altamont Hotels will now have to consider such value added elements as solar energy and other greening elements for better efficiency.

“Such a plan would leave more funds to spend on creating an even more extraordinary visitor experience,” Jarrett continued.

Detailing the strategy for his group's sustainability, the managing director and CEO of the Altamont Hotels said his organisation was looking at expanding its acquisition of commercial real estate, particularly in New Kingston where there is great demand.

“Looking to the long term, we will not rule out listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and branching out into the region,” he said. “In the meantime, we wish to shore up our business model so that we can expand with confidence, guided by an experienced and more well-rounded board and the management team.”

According to Jarrett, small properties like the Altamont Hotels are not expecting government to provide any special favours for the hospitality industry, and have never benefited from such in the past. However, he is pleased that all operators in the hotel industry can benefit from the Omnibus Incentive Act and duty-free concessions, advocated by the JHTA