Karisma Hotels and Resorts has set aside US$900 million to construct as many as nine hotels in Jamaica, adding 4,000 rooms to the Caribbean country’s burgeoning hospitality industry. The announcement comes at a time Jamaica is discussing plans to reopen the tourist railroad between Montego Bay and St. Elizabeth.
One of its huge resort-cum-hotels will rise on a sprawling 228-acre property in Llandovery, east of Montego Bay. The Mexico-based hospitality giant said the project will be completed over the next eight to ten years, creating about 5,000 indirect jobs in addition to 8000 direct jobs.
Jamaica last year hosted nearly 2.1 million overnight visitors, the Caribbean’s third most behind only Cuba and the Dominican Republic. According to the government of Jamaica, the first of the nine hotels of Karisma is scheduled to open by the end of 2018.
Reports say that the property Karisma acquired in Llandovery has access to more than a mile of beachfront. Karisma brands include Azul, El Dorado, Allure, Adriatic Beach and Generation Villas.
Jamaica, where unemployment is at a record level, is hopeful that Karisma’s arrival would attract a number of new international hotel brands into its territory. In Latin America, Karisma has properties in Mexico and Colombia.
In Jamaica, Karisma hopes to offer an all-inclusive package featuring a dolphin experience, water sports, and nature attraction with horse trails. Karisma expanded to Jamaica last year with the acquisition of a hotel in Negril, which is being operated as Sensatori Jamaica.
In fact, the success of Sensatori has persuaded Karisma to expand further in the Caribbean country. Its officials noted in a recent press announcement that Sensatori Jamaica remained sold out in the past one year.
An alliance with local tour operators and international airlines also contributed to the rise in customers’ arrival at its resorts.
Enthused by this success, Karisma says it will invest US$45 million to expand Sensatori, adding another 149 suites to the existing 138. In addition, it will build another hotel in an adjacent property and that will be named Azul Seven.
Azul Seven alone will bring 328 direct and 197 indirect jobs to the area. According to reports, tourism is growing in the Caribbean, particularly in Cancun, Dominican Republic and Jamaica.