The Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit (CHICOS), began on November, 14, 2019, drawing over 300 international investors and tourism industry experts to Montego Bay, St. James.
The event, which was hosted by HVS in partnership with planning partner JAMPRO, and co-sponsors Apple Leisure Group (ALG) and AMResorts, kicked off with Jamaica being dubbed a “Hospitality Nation” by presenter George Spence, Director General of Leading Property Group, during his presentation on challenges and opportunities in the Caribbean tourism industry.
The conference also featured panels and other presentations on issues related to investing in the Caribbean, and a keynote speech from The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, who highlighted Jamaica’s performance, and welcomed investors, tourism industry experts and other attendees to the event.
CHICOS is a yearly hospitality and tourism investment conference which attracts international investors, institutional lenders and hotel operators as well as the region’s leading decision makers in the tourism industry. Attendees use the event to discuss the Caribbean region’s markets and possibilities, and to explore investment opportunities in Caribbean territories.
The confab provided the opportunity for Jamaica to promote tourism business opportunities, with the Prime Minister of Jamaica saying that investors would be wise to consider Jamaica for their next project. In addition to Jamaica’s stable democracy and concrete growth strategy, the Prime Minister explained Jamaica was attracting increased interest. He said, “The sector is enjoying high interest from potential and existing investments. Jamaica currently has approximately 15,000 rooms in the pipeline, which will be constructed in the next three to five years.”
Caribbean tourism industry growing, but challenges exist
The conference also highlighted challenges that exist in the Caribbean, with Spence saying that adverse media coverage and negative perception are affecting the rate of arrivals in some countries in the region, but the supply for rooms continues to increase with major chains acquiring and developing new properties. He also noted that there was an environmental concern to consider in the region, which could affect its development.
JAMPRO President, Diane Edwards, who also was a panelist at the event, said that the CHICOS conference was the perfect location for investors to hear this and other information needed to make their decision to invest in Jamaica or any other Caribbean country. She said, “The great thing about this conference is it allows not only for knowledge transfer, but for investors to connect with government representatives and other stakeholders to get the full idea of what it means to invest in the region. By engaging all key persons in one location, investors can make the best decisions, and can experience first-hand the quality of the tourism industry in Jamaica.”
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