A revolving fund of approximately 2.8 billion Euros will be available to African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries specifically for tourism projects under the PROINVEST partnership arrangement, as an initiative of the European Union and managed by the European Investment Bank.Members of the international organizing team (European Commission) team announced this for the Partnership Roles and Opportunities for Investors in Tourism (PROFIT) meeting at the Ritz Carlton, Montego Bay. Already a grant of 110 million Euros has been made available for this programme and the EU and its partners are pledging additional support.
Claudio Salinas of the European Commission - Belgium says, “this is the beginning of a long process of negotiation with these countries and we are hoping that the relationship can continue.” He also noted that these group of countries remain dynamic places for investment and “it is the simple most important reason for this grant to be given for this type of development.”
The European Union indicated that it has realized that tourism is one of the key sectors in growing economies today and with investment trending more towards services “we know we are making the right decisions” added Kati Tanninen, Caribbean representative of the EU.
These announcements were made at a press briefing at the Partnership Roles for Opportunities for Investors in Tourism (PROFIT) at the Ritz Carlton in Montego Bay. The conference which ran from October 5 to 8 saw over 100 project proposals from the Caribbean seeking partners for their respective proposals. They met with investors and providers of services. The projects were selected from a submission of 200, also from the region and the partnership meeting aimed solely at looking for matches for the projects.
The regional organizing body, Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) sees this meeting, as the result of hard work and Director General, Alec Sanguinetti, is happy about the meeting. According to a world report, “tourism is expected to contribute 14.8 per cent of the Caribbean’s GDP and account for 2.4 million jobs, representing 15.5 per cent of total employment, while in the next ten years, the tourism share of GDP is forecasted to be 16.5 per cent and employment 17.1 per cent.”
“In Jamaica, up to ten years, an additional 5,000 rooms are expected and the projects that have been submitted for the grants from the EU are hoping to be able to complement the projected increase in stop over and cruise passenger arrivals,” said Michael McMorris, Executive Director, Markets, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO). JAMPRO, the investment and export promotion agency has recognized these projections and “have put systems in place to ensure that Jamaica gets its fair share of the development of tourism,” noted McMorris.