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Remarks by the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, At The Press Launch Of The Hospiten Group, March 14, 2014, Montego Bay

Fellow tourism partners, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen…good morning.

I want to extend my commendations and congratulations to the principals of the Hospiten Group, Dr. Pedro L. Cobiella, Chairman and Mr. Pedro Cobiella Beauvais, Managing Director, on what I regard as a true show of commitment and confidence in a groundbreaking venture.  Your staying the course to realize today’s launch, speaks volumes of the confidence you have in this project as well as to the attractiveness of destination Jamaica for investment, on so many levels.

As the lead on developing policy and strategy for the industry I can say we are grateful for the confidence you have placed in our sector and happy to welcome you to Jamaica.  We have a very good working relationship with our tourism partners and I suspect ours will continue to grow from strength to strength as well. 

This is a particularly exciting project for Jamaica as it represents a substantial business investment in a niche market that is strategically positioned for growth, as we move towards expanding our market segments.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is apparent that the Hospiten Group, like so many others, acknowledges Jamaica as open for business.  Within the tourism industry, investment is back on track for the sector with some $20 billion worth of investment currently on stream in the accommodation subsector alone, through properties such as the RIU Palace, Royalton and Sensatori. 

However as we know, accommodation is just a portion of the portfolio needed to build a sustainable tourism industry; one that can create the kind of economic impact on our national economy that we need to improve the livelihoods and lives of every Jamaican.  This is why as a government we are investing in the areas of Jamaica that show potential and as we do so, these initiatives are bearing fruit and gaining buy in from overseas investors.

As you may be aware, a joint ministerial body drafted a policy and strategy on health and wellness tourism in Jamaica and identified medical tourism as the subsector upon which to focus.  A strategy to position new medical facilities that would meet international accreditation and so compete internationally to take advantage of our proximity to the North American market was conceived.  I am happy to say that today’s launch is a signal that we are making progress in a serious way.

The internationally accredited medical services of the caliber brought by the Hospiten Group, in the Montego Bay area, will continue to add to the value and appeal of destination Jamaica and by extension further the investment prospects of the sector. 

We pride ourselves with having been on the cutting edge of the tourism industry with the standard and variety of our product offering. This is likely to remain so, as the Hospiten Group brings to the sector state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities and health-care skills that meet the highest standards in the world today. 

We appreciate their expression of confidence in our nation’s infrastructure. And we offer the assurance that our efforts to open and penetrate new markets around the world will continue; so too will our drive to provide air links with these markets.

I am happy to welcome the Hospiten Group to the sector.