Prime Minister Holness encourages more investments in Jamaica’s tourism product

Prime Minister Holness is inviting more investors to tap into development opportunities in Jamaica, particularly in the tourism industry as he believes the trajectory of the value of the industry is going to take off rapidly.

“The opportunities here are great. We’re now in that phase where we are seeking to re-imagine Jamaica’s tourism as a high-value, high-quality destination. We have all the elements to achieve that and we are working towards it. Now is the time for investors to get in because the trajectory of the value of the industry is going to take off rapidly,” said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister made these remarks on Friday at the Ameterra Group’s groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of an 800-room resort in Stewart Castle, Trelawny. This will be followed by another 400 rooms in the second phase and over time will see an estimated 8,000 hotel rooms to be constructed on the 1,000-acre property.

It is being developed by former North Trelawny Member of Parliament Keith Russell, his wife, Paula; and international partners, Tourism & Leisure Development International owner, Francisco Fuentes, along with Rexton Capital Partners Limited’s owners Mustapha Deria and Guillermo Velasco.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Audley Shaw also shared that investment opportunities also exist within the agriculture industry.

Amaterra Group Chairman, Keith Russell (second left) explains his development plans for the Amaterra Group’s first hotel site to Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, Fisheries and Investments, Hon Audley Shaw (left), Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett; and Amaterra Group Chairman, Paula Russell. The occasion was the ground-breaking ceremony for Ameterra Group’s construction of an 800-room resort in Stewart Castle, Trelawny on Friday April 12, 2019.

“A few miles from here, the Government has 13,000 acres of land that used to be in sugar…Applications are flowing in for thousands of acres and those 13,000 acres by the end of this year must be in full production,” said Minister Shaw.

The Prime Minister lamented, however, that while the country is ripe for investments, the existing bureaucracy often makes it difficult for investments to happen seamlessly.

“The public bureaucracy does not always understand or is empathetic to the speed of business. They operate on two different timelines and they take into consideration, non-commercial things that sometimes add a burden, which is not just frustrating but has real costs to doing business,” said the Prime Minister.

He went on to share that, “It takes the overarching leadership of the country to ensure that the rules are created and are such that they encourage business at the speed of thought, and that is where Jamaica is heading. Everything that I have done so far as Prime Minister is to challenge the institutional thinking that has kept us from growing and I will continue to challenge it because it needs to be done.”

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Creating a More Inclusive Tourism Industry

The Prime Minister also reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to create a culture of inclusion in the industry so that more Jamaicans will feel they benefit from the rapidly growing and lucrative industry.

Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett shared these sentiments, adding that his Ministry is focusing on creating an industry which “involves the integration of more communities. One of the visions is to establish a tourism integration development arrangement that will be embodied in something called a Tourism Innovation City.”

The Tourism Minister added that the objective of the innovation city is to enable the hotel/attraction to become ‘the fulcrum around which the economic and social development of the entire communities around it is predicated.

When he [Keith Russell] spoke about the Group’s integrated approach to bring agriculture, manufacturing, BPO, retail, attractions of various kinds within that frame – is in fact to establish fully what the thinking of this concept is about.”

It was noted that the first 1,200 rooms of the Amaterra project will yield 3,200 direct employees and another 2,000 indirect employees.

The completed Amaterra Group project will include resorts, entertainment facilities, theme parks, a pedestrian town centre, manufacturing facilities and special economic zones.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jamaica Ministry of Tourism, Corporate Communications, 64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Tel: 920-4926-30, Fax: 920-4944

About the author

Linda Hohnholz