Growth & Jobs | JAMPRO aims to diversify tourism investments
Jamaica’s trade and Investment Promotions Agency, JAMPRO, has intensified its promotion and investment-facilitation strategy to attract new projects that will diversify the tourism sector. The agency notes that the plan was devised to support the Government of Jamaica’s Five Pillars of Tourism Growth strategy, which will be used to transform the tourism industry in the island.
The tourism sector has been a staple in Jamaica’s economy, and continues to see rapid annual growth. In 2017, visitor arrivals grew by 13 per cent, and visitor expenditure is projected to have passed US$3 billion or 20 of gross domestic product. For this year, the Ministry of Tourism has said that between January and August, almost three million arrivals were recorded, representing a 4.7 per cent increase when compared to the same period in 2017.
With this success already achieved, JAMPRO is looking to further boost the sector’s performance by attracting more investments in ecotourism attractions and resorts, wellness and medical tourism, timeshare ownership, and the development of boutique and city hotels. JAMPRO has identified these areas as having high potential for growth for new investments based on global trends, Jamaica’s global brand appeal, and the expected increase in visitors to the island.
President of JAMPRO Diane Edwards said that while the agency has been successful in attracting major tourism projects such as Iberostar Hotel, BahÌa PrincipÈ, Grupo Excellence (Oyster Bay) and others, the need exists to create new dimensions for tourism outside of all-inclusive properties and visitors on cruise ships.
JAMPRO is, therefore, focusing on perfecting its investment facilitation support, developing new locations for tourism investment, and driving the expansion of tourism brands that have already invested in Jamaica.
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She explained that JAMPRO has been improving the investment-facilitation process to ensure that investors execute projects in Jamaica. “A critical part of investments, especially in tourism and outsourcing, is ramping up the investment-facilitation process so that the investors can start doing business quickly.
“At JAMPRO, we have decided to re-examine our investment-facilitation services, and look at ways in which we can improve and make investment in Jamaica a smoother process. We are also spearheading the National Business Portal and National Investment Policy to assist with expediting investments.”
Edwards also noted that to develop other areas for tourism investments, JAMPRO would be creating investment road maps for Portland, Kingston, and the south coast.
“Jamaica is known for Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril when it comes to tourism. However, as Jamaicans, we know that there are other areas that have amazing potential. These locations have a unique and, in many cases, new experience for persons visiting the country. We are cognisant of this, and we have already started work with stakeholders in Portland as we look to promote that parish for tourism investments.”
Medical and wellness tourism development is also a part of JAMPRO’s diversification strategy. The agency has been working with medical and wellness stakeholders locally to boost the sector, and the agency is now looking for investors to partner with local companies or to bring new projects to Jamaica.
Edwards said: “There are some existing facilities that are doing well in this sector, but we would like to make medical and wellness tourism formalised and take advantage of our location and excellent medical talent. We are currently at the engagement stage with stakeholders in the sector, and when we have completed this and resolved policy issues, we will move on to target investors for packaged products. With this strategy in place, we aim to see more variety in tourism investments.”
The tourism strategic development plan will run until 2020.