Real estate investors are always looking for the next big opportunity that will deliver a healthy return on their investment, but finding that opportunity isn’t easy. What types of projects have the greatest potential for success? What location has proven staying power? Where is the demand that will attract customers year-round?
A shrewd assessment of key factors points to Jamaica, the largest English-speaking country in the western Caribbean that consistently draws high numbers of leisure and business travelers to its sun-splashed shores. Here are the top five reasons why now is the right time to invest in development on this tropical Caribbean paradise.
Follow The Numbers
Extensive market research is critical before investors commit their finances, time and support to any real estate project, and impressive statistics are often an important barometer for measuring potential success.
The numbers speak volumes about Jamaica’s popularity among consumers, making it extremely attractive to developers. In 2018, 4.3 million tourists visited Jamaica (with total stopover arrivals of 2,472,727 and cruise passenger arrivals of 1,845,873). Gross visitor expenditure in 2017 was estimated at $3.2 billion ( 7.9%). According to Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism, the overall vision of the industry is to attract 5 million visitors by 2021 and generate $5 billion in tourism earnings.
A Mix Of Lodging Options
Increasing visitor arrival numbers keeps demand high for lodging in Jamaica. And, while many associate Jamaica with all-inclusive resorts, the island’s accommodation options are quite diverse, with over 32,000 rooms encompassing boutique resorts, ecotourism properties, timeshares, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, villas, and home-sharing options via websites like Airbnb.
That diversity is motivating investment in varied-size properties targeting budget-focused, luxury, eco-friendly, business and adventure-minded travelers, plus launches in city and beach locations, unveiling of mixed-use developments, and acquisition and refurbishment of distressed properties. Potential and existing developers are increasingly seizing opportunities in Jamaica as evidenced by the approximately 15,000 rooms in the pipeline, which will be constructed in the next three to five years.
JAMPRO reports there has been in excess of $1 billion of investment in new and refurbished hotels on the island. Project highlights from last year include the opening of 315 rooms (phase 1) of Excellence Oyster Bay and the debut of the 48-room R Hotel. Ocean by H10 Hotel Group broke ground in February on two five-star all-inclusive properties, and the Hard Rock Hotel is constructing 1,100 rooms expected to open by 2020.
Leveraging Wellness Trends
Achieving wellness to rejuvenate the spirit and improve overall health is firmly becoming a part of people’s lives, leading to the growth of medical tourism, another avenue for further elevating a destination’s profile.
Jamaica presents opportunities to develop wellness properties and spas as well as expand the sub-sector with retirement homes and assisted living facilities. The island has a qualified labor force engaged in all aspects of the tourism sector and support services, including wellness practitioners and medical professionals, who possess the competencies and experience for the development of a vibrant medical tourism industry.
Crucial to the success of any real estate development site is consistent access to the destination, and Jamaica is privileged to enjoy excellent airlift and cruise facilities to ensure a steady flow of island visitors. There are three major ports of call on Jamaica’s northern coast located in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Falmouth, while the capital city, Kingston, has an expanded port and amenities for cultural and creative seekers. Three international airports make possible easy airlift and access to major markets, with over 55 airlines flying directly to Jamaica from important gateways.
Grow Attractions & Entertainment
Beyond diverse lodging, Jamaica presents a wealth of choice for those interested in developing attractions, nightlife and entertainment options on the island.
Jamaica’s lush bio-diversity encourages investments in soft adventure, hiking trails and zip-line attractions. Consider this – spending on Jamaica attractions accounts for 18% to 21% of cruise passenger spending, second only to in-bond shopping. The island’s attractions and entertainment sector yields over $1.0 billion annually from the 21% and 13.4% of cruise passengers and stopover visitors’ expenditure, respectively.
Here’s a future development to watch – the Jamaican government is working on casino gaming legislation, which would add a new dimension to the island’s already-dynamic tourism industry.
There is always risk with investment, but Jamaica’s high number of visitor arrivals, superb air and cruise access, and the opportunity to build a wide range of lodging options and attractions, plus further cultivate the wellness market, are bound to deliver substantial reward.