Jamaica getting 1,000 new hotel roomx
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (centre) in discussionwith (from left) Sabrina Fluxa of Iberostar; Encarna Piniero,chairman of Groupo Piniero (Bahia Principle); Carmen Riu,CEO of Riu Hotels; and minister without portfolio in theMinistry of Economic Growth and Job Creation SenatorAubyn Hill, at the Gran Melia in Madrid, Spain, on Friday.

MONTEGO BAY, St James – Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is enthusiastic about the conclusion of discussions for the construction of 1,000 new hotel rooms on the island, following talks at the FITUR 2021 travel show in Madrid, Spain, the first international trade show since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“The big news is the completion of the dis cussion with regards to 1,000 more rooms from the Luque family, who are owners of the properties where the Secrets brand and its affiliated brands are located,” Bartlett said in a telephone interview.

“We did make reference before about this possibility but it is now a matter of fait accompli that there will be 1,000 more rooms added to the stock that we have boasted. I think that this discussion in the first major face-to-face trade show for tourism since COVID has been very, very successful for Jamaica.”

Just more than 700 of the rooms will be constructed in Richmond, St Ann, and another 280 in Freeport, Montego Bay, St James.

The tourism minister said he was also encouraged by talks held with the Melia Group.

“The discussion we also had with the Melia group is interesting and we look forward to completing those discussions as the weeks progress,” said Bartlett.

FITUR is a global meeting point for tourism professionals and the leading trade fair for inbound and outbound markets in Latin America. FITUR 2021, staged May 19-23, was digitised, complementing the face-to-face fair with FIFUR LiveConnect, an online platform that welcomed the entire professional tourism community, offering its members the opportunity to connect and share information.

“We concluded perhaps the most important international engagement since COVID in Spain, where the first international trade show since COVID was held. It brought just a little over 50,000 people, including countries, ministers, companies, hotels, service providers for the industry... just a confluence of all the moving parts that make up tourism was there,” said Bartlett.

The tourism minister was also upbeat over discussions with other existing and potential investors.

“We had an opportunity to have discussions and dialogues with investors and we had discussions with our own investors who have already had products in Jamaica and a few others, particularly the Sampol company, which is a logistics company that will be looking with us to build out possibilities on the supply side, which is so important as we reposition tourism,” revealed Bartlett.

The tourism minister was accompanied to FITUR 2021 by minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Senator Aubyn Hill. They will both move on to Saudi Arabia today, where Bartlett is scheduled to make a presentation at the Global Summit on Tourism Recovery.

“... We will be having a series of discussions with a number of investment possibilities, including [talks with] the minister of investment and minister of tourism. I will be presenting at the global summit on tourism recovery which will bring 30 ministers from all over the world and a host of tourism stakeholders who will be showcasing what the new tourism could look like..., and what are the thoughts with regards to the transformation that will take part in the tourism industry within post-COVID,” said Bartlett.

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

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