(Jamaica Observer) Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday participated in the official ground-breaking ceremony for the US$250-million ($34-billion), 1,000-room H10 Ocean Coral Spring now under construction in Trelawny.
The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion in time for the 2019/2020 winter tourism season with 500 rooms. The second phase, which comprises adult-only rooms, is slated to be ready by 2020.
The investment by the Spanish hotel chain in Jamaica is its first at the destination and the English-speaking Caribbean.
H-10 started operating in the Caribbean in 1999 in the Dominican Republic. Since then its presence in the region has grown tremendously, now operating eight resorts in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Cuba, with a total of 5,100 rooms, under the 5 Star All-Inclusive brand Ocean by H10 Hotels.
Prime Minister Holness, who expressed gratitude to the Spanish investors, projected that the local hotel room stock could rise from 33,000 to 50,000 in the next 10 years.
“We are at about 33,000 rooms. Within another five years we could be over 40,000 more rooms and within the decade coming, we could be around 50,000 rooms. That is the magnitude of the expansion of the industry. So again, I want to congratulate H10 for considering Jamaica the destination of choice not just for tourism, but for investments,” Holness said.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett argued that the multimillion-dollar investment is a reflection of a new wave of tourism investment which is to add another 15,000 rooms in Jamaica in the next five years. He noted that the new wave will also be accompanied by investments in local supplies.
“This new wave of investment that is going to bring nearly 15,000 rooms to Jamaica over the next five years will be characterised also with investment in the supply side to enable Jamaicans to supply more of the inputs of tourism so that the value added from tourism can remain in the economy of Jamaica. And this is a very important part of that discussion because now we are not only talking about building hotel rooms, but we are talking about working with farmers to produce more food for the sector, we are talking about producing more energy requirements for the sector, we are talking about producing water as well for the communities around, we are talking about inclusive development where investment and communities are going to be in a new symbiotic relationship. That is going to ensure that we move the country from poverty to prosperity,” the tourism minister said.
For his part, H10 director Antonio Hernandez said it was worth the wait since 2014 to acquire the perfect scenic property.
“We started our search for a suitable site to host our first Jamaican hotel in 2014. It took us a long time to finally acquire this beautiful property, but it was worth the wait because we knew it was perfect the second we laid our eyes on it,” Hernandez noted.
He added: “Our firm commitment is to give back to the country and the community all the trust and support that we have received, by developing, with the enthusiastic contribution of the Ocean team that is today here with me, a successful resort that we can all be proud of and that shall help to further strengthen the international appeal of Jamaica as a top Caribbean destination.”