Jamaican Government Inks Pact with Melia Hotels for All-Inclusive Resort
Photo: Wykeham McNeill (left), Jamaica’s tourism minister, Peter Bunting, national security minister (center) and Dimitris Kosvogiannia, Melia Braco Village’s general manager, at the Melia Braco Village launch announcement.
Melia Hotels International this week inked a joint venture with Jamaica’s government to renovate and manage the 225-room former Braco Village Resort in the Trelawny district.
The future Melia Braco Village resort will open in late 2015 and operate under a 15-year lease agreement with Jamaica’s National Insurance Fund, which owns the property.
The property will undergo a “comprehensive renovation” of the existing 225 rooms and other buildings; an additional 250 rooms will also be added, bringing the room count to 475. The resort features colonial-style, beachfront buildings and includes five restaurants plus several bars, pools and spas, according to Melia officials.
"Jamaica is a long-awaited destination for Melia Hotels International; the English-speaking Caribbean is a major focus in our global expansion strategy,” said Alvaro Tejeda Schroeder, Melia’s regional vice president of the Americas. “This property represents a major milestone in the company’s efforts to establish its brands in major vacation destinations, like Jamaica, in the Caribbean.”
Speaking at a groundbreaking event to celebrate the agreement, Wykeham McNeill, Jamaica’s tourism minister, said the new property will be entering a buoyant Jamaican tourism marketplace.
“At this point in time, tourism in Jamaica is very positive,” he said. “Arrivals are up, the hotels are full, and the airports are bursting at the seams. When your occupancies are up, it drives demand and when you drive demand, you drive investments and we are now seeing the fruits of that investment,” McNeill added.
McNeill said the Melia project represents a part of the $470 million hospitality suppliers have invested in Jamaica’s tourism sector over the past three years.
“The investments we have on the books now will see the addition of another 1,600 new rooms to Jamaica over the next 18 months and a number of those rooms are right here in Trelawny,” he said.
McNeill added that Jamaica’s Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) has played an instrumental role in enabling the country to process the country’s growing tourist arrivals.
“We are getting 4,000 to 5,000 people coming in a four- to five-hour period and [PICA] has worked with us in doing away with outgoing immigration, with putting in kiosks, with getting up to 34 immigration officers,” he said. “We still have a lot more to do, but it is the collaboration of these ministries that is really helping us in the tourism industry.”
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