Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett (front, centre) pauses for a photo with Head of Inverotel, Encarna Pinero (front, second right); Abel Matutes, President of Palladium Hotel Group (front, second left); John Lynch, Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (front, left); Delano Seiveright, Senior Advisor and Strategist, Ministry of Tourism (front, right) and leaders of other Spanish hotels at the Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques in Madrid, Spain, on Friday, January 26.
MADRID, Spain--Over US $2 billion or J $310 billion in sustainable and multifaceted Spanish-led tourism resort projects are working to break ground this year, creating over 19,000 short-term and long-term jobs from development to opening, according to a press release from the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism.
Notably, some of the projects will include housing for employees and close collaboration with farmers and other local suppliers of goods and services, as part of enhancing sustainability, addressing major shortages and integrating local input in as many areas as feasible.
Details of the planned projects were shared recently with Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett and other senior tourism officials in Madrid, Spain, by owners of the respective companies, who form part of Spanish Hotel Association, Inverotel.
These investments do not include other major investments by Jamaican investors like Sandals and American, Mexican, Canadian, Chinese and other foreign investors, according to the release. The minister was joined by senior tourism officials John Lynch, Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB); Delano Seiveright, Senior Advisor and Strategist, Ministry of Tourism, and other JTB management personnel.
“The developments represent a clear signal that Jamaica is in demand and that we have developed an attractive tourism product. We will continue in our efforts to attract tourism investments and see to it that the benefits of tourism are properly spread throughout the economy. Given this rapid rate of growth and development, a very solid approach is being taken in tying housing, agriculture and firmer linkages in the provision of goods and services to the benefit of even more Jamaicans. I will have more to say on this in the coming weeks and months as we have a lot of issues to sort through, as right now some micro, small, medium and big companies are struggling to keep up with current demands from the sector,” Bartlett noted.
The Spanish-led projects cover major resort developments spanning the parishes of Hanover and St. Ann; the expansion of Grand Palladium Hotel and Resorts with the construction of two new high-end resorts with approximately 1,000 suites in Lucea, employee housing and farming collaboratives with residents; the development of a 700-suite Secrets resort in St. Ann and the game-changing Pinero family-led development around Grand Bahia in St. Ann, which will be one of the largest resort and real estate development projects ever executed in the Caribbean and Latin America, the release states. That project represents a massive expansion of their existing Bahia Principe product in St. Ann to include new hotels, villas, a PGA-certified 18-hole golf course, a state-of-the-art fisherman’s village, farms, modern employee residences and educational facilities, among other facilities and amenities.
Senior Advisor Seiveright noted that labour, tourism worker training, roads, airport flow and infrastructure, building permit and related bureaucratic issues and linkages – specifically shortages of goods, including agricultural produce, meats, beer, rum and other items – dominated discussions with Spanish hotel stakeholders.
Earlier in January Minister Bartlett piloted a public and private sector initiative to build capacity and systematically address pain points across the tourism sector. The four focus areas are public order in tourism spaces, visitor facilitation, tourism housing and human resources. There are also significant cross-government efforts that incorporate coordination with the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Investment and its agency JAMPRO, according to the release.
Bartlett was leading a small delegation of Tourism officials at FITUR 2024, in Madrid, Spain, a major tourism fair with 8,000 exhibitors, 130 countries represented and over 300,000 attendees. It represents one of the largest gatherings of tourism professionals globally and is the leading fair for Latin America's receptive and issuing markets, the release concludes.