Minister: New Melia may inspire Jamaican investments

Wykeham McNeill, Jamaica's tourism and entertainment minister, is encouraging Jamaicans to take advantage of investment opportunities in the island’s tourism sector.

At the official opening of the Melia Braco Village in Trelawny last week, McNeill said the investment climate for local investors is right. “I want to see Jamaicans and Jamaican companies getting involved in investing in tourism," he said. "I want to see Jamaicans taking advantage of the opportunities that exist in tourism to make money and to make a profit.” 

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McNeill praised the National Insurance Fund for its investment in Melia Braco Village, which ensured that the property remained in the hands of the pension fund and of Jamaicans. The hotel is owned by the National Insurance Fund (NIF), is being managed by the Meliá Hotel Group under a 15-year lease agreement with the Government

The Melia Braco Village is the country's third in six weeks that is under total rehabilitation or is new. McNeill pointed out that the project was delivered on time and within the US$23.5 million budget.

Looking at the sector since the start of the 2015/16 winter tourist season in the middle of December, the Minister said arrivals have been up, especially at the Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay, St. James. A record 17,500 passengers arrived or departed the Sangster International Airport on December 22 alone, 6,000 of whom were cruise ship transfers. McNeill said of the 98 flights which arrived at the airport on that day,  20 were 300 seaters from Germany and the United Kingdom.

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