Five thousand Jamaicans are expected to gain employment in the tourism industry through the construction of four hotels, to cost some US$250 million, over the coming months.
Of the four hotels, two will be located in Trelawny, one in Kingston, and the other in Port Antonio.
Addressing the press launch of a revitalised ‘Spruce Up Jamaica’ initiative at the Devonshire, Devon House, St. Andrew, yesterday (January 24), Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said both temporary and permanent job opportunities will be available from the investments.
Providing a breakdown of the jobs, Mr. Bartlett said over 2,000 persons will be employed in Trelawny during the construction phase, while 600 permanent jobs will be available thereafter.
He noted that over 1,000 persons will be employed for the hotel in Port Antonio with 800 permanent jobs, as the room-to-employee ratio will be higher.
Mr. Bartlett said new investors have expressed a desire to invest in the country which augurs well for the continued growth and development of the sector.
“We had enquiries and discussions with a number of potential investors in Europe that will amount to four additional hotels…These are hotels that are now coming at a higher end of the market, because everyone is recognising that destination Jamaica offers a better value proposition to the visitor,” he said.
In the meantime, he said the country is on track to achieving 15,000 new hotel rooms in five years.
“This year we will cover four million arrivals. We are now at 3.8 million plus (2016), so we have one million to go,” the Minister noted.
Mr. Bartlett said tourism is arguably the strongest sector in the economy with earnings of US$2.5 billion last year. He added that the sector provides tens of thousands of jobs and fuels numerous other sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and entertainment.
‘Spruce Up Jamaica’ is the Ministry’s flagship umbrella programme which includes various initiatives primarily geared at changing attitudes and creating integration among industries and programmes that impact the tourism sector.
The initiative will be driven through the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), which will execute activities directly related to the programme on a day-to- day basis, while the
Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) will provide the financial support for these projects.