PHOTO: OKOYE HENRY Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, speaks at the reopening of Zoetry Montego Bay, in Ironshore, St. James, recently.

KINGSTON, Jamaica-October 21st, 2020–Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, says that 90 per cent of previously planned projects are still on target, despite the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“COVID-19 has given a little setback but picking up on 2021, we will be on track for somewhere in 2024 and that’s very exciting. We are going to be good for 2024,” Mr. Bartlett said.

He was speaking at the recent official reopening of Zoetry Montego Bay in Ironshore, St. James, following a seven-month closure due to the pandemic

Mr. Bartlett noted that among the projects to come on stream is a 1,700-room hotel along the Elegant Corridor in St. James, a 2,000-room development for Green Island in Hanover, and a tourism development program is planned for Port Royal and the wider Kingston.

“This show of confidence in Jamaica by investors has helped to boost our image as a leading tourist destination. In addition, these investments are creating job opportunities for Jamaicans and further fueling the expansion and diversification of our tourism product,” the Minister noted.

He said that the Government continues to work tirelessly to create an environment that attracts and fosters premium investment in the tourism sector.

“Accordingly, we are investing in infrastructure development, including the modernization and expansion of the two international airports, improving the road network and the expansion and development of cruise-ship piers,” he noted.

Mr. Bartlett said he is confident that future growth of Jamaica will be through tourism as the country seeks to rebound from the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

He pointed out that focus on experiential marketing will be instrumental in this regard and will allow Jamaica to keep a competitive edge.

“We must build our capacity to absorb the demand that tourism brings. This capacity resides in our ability to invest more in the experiences that the visitor consumes and those experiences must be local and owned by our people,” Mr. Bartlett said.

“That ownership of the indigenous experiences allows for the retention of the dollar and a more equitable distribution of the industry’s benefits,” he added.