New Jamaican president Andrew Holness has outlined plans to create 20,000 tourism jobs in the coming years as part of a multi-million investment in the sector.
A total of 15,825 new hotel rooms are also expected to be added to the Caribbean island’s stock, with approximately $60 billion in capital investment expected.
Speaking at the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association 50th anniversary gala banquet at the Ritz Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Montego Bay, Holness also reflected on a successful year.
The Prime Minister said, despite the instability of the international financial market, tourism in Jamaica continues to grow; with the sector emerging as the largest foreign exchange earner and is an increasingly significant source of employment.
He noted, while the country has a solid product and is seen as the top brand in the region, winning the Caribbean’s Leading Destination title for the sixth consecutive year at the recent World Travel Awards was tremendously beneficial.
Holness added that five decades ago, when the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association was established, the country recorded some 224,000 stopover arrivals and 69,000 crew ship visitors, earning approximately $37 million at the time.
Between January and September of this year, the country welcomed 763,000 crew ship and 1.5 million stopover visitors, earning US$1.5 billion, and projections are for a six per cent growth in arrivals.
“Despite several periods of global, economic and political turbulence, this institution, established in November 1961, has continued to be critical for growth and development of the tourist industry in Jamaica. I feel proud to have such talent and commitment serving Jamaica,” the Prime Minister stated.