At the opening ceremony of the 8th annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference there was an apparent air of optimism and enthusiasm for the coming year in regional tourism and arrival figures. The show was opened by Godfrey Dyer, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA), who spoke of the fact that Jamaica ‘has much to share with its Caribbean colleagues’. This fact was reiterated by Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism the Hon. Aloun N’dombet-Assamba who noted that the World Bank recently ‘named Jamaica as one of the top ten places in the world to do business in.’
Hon. Assamba also noted that the island (Jamaica), had ‘over the last four years attracted new investments of approximately US$127.7 million.’ She stated that this was largely derived from ‘the opening of the 430 room Ritz Carlton Hotel and the 396 room Hotel Riu Tropical Bay in Negril.’
In the first three months of 2004 the Caribbean’s growth continued with the Dominican Republic having an increase (growth) of 9 percent, the Bahamas 7.9 percent and Jamaica 7 percent. It is because of these figures that investment in the region in ripening and expanding rapidly.
Tourism in Jamaica accounts for some 90,000 direct and 227,000 indirect jobs whilst generating an estimated annual gross of US$1.36 million.