By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica’s major tourism hub of Montego Bay is set for a full-fledged hotel boom.
Some 6,000 new hotel rooms are coming to the destination on the northwestern coast of Jamaica over the next five years, according to Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
That number is likely to include surrounding areas in what has come to be considered “greater” Montego Bay like Trelawny, which has been seeing its own development boom in recent years.
That will be highlighted by a planned Hard Rock hotel-casino development that will include 1,700 hotel rooms, Bartlett said.
The hotel will likely come under AIC Hotels’ Unico hotel brand, which would mark the second Unico-branded resort along with its flagship Riviera Maya adults-only property. That project was first revealed by Jamaica Tourism Director Donovan White at the CTO’s State of the Industry Conference last year.
Montego Bay recently got a boost with the recent debut of the S Hotel Montego Bay, a luxe beach resort that has injected new life into the “Hip Strip” area of downtown Montego Bay.
Bartlett said the rooms would help Jamaica target the growing market of luxury travelers around the world, a segment of the market Bartlett said could reach $2.5 trillion globally by 2025.
“Jamaica is well positioned to tap into this obviously lucrative market. Business and luxury travel go hand in hand and the fact that the Montego Bay Convention Centre is also perched on the elegant corridor of Rose Hall, we are uniquely poised to make a run at this market,” Bartlett said.
Pointing to Montego Bay area resorts like the legendary Half Moon and AMResorts’ Zoetry Montego Bay, the Minister said Jamaica now had what “we are proud to call an embarrassment of riches, as we continue to pursue the luxury tourism market.”
Half Moon for its part will soon debut a transformational expansion of its iconic beachfront property.
“We just have to keep plugging away where eventually we will get it right,” Bartlett said. “We have the right mixture – a first world international airport in the form of Sangster, a convention centre and some of the finest hotels in the region – all in close proximity.”’’