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Jamaica Attractive Destination for Luxury Vacation Seekers – Tourism Director

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Jamaica is “well-positioned as an attractive destination” for luxury vacation seekers, says Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board, Donovan White.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, on September 12, Mr. White explained that the Jamaican spirit and culture is “endearing” to visitors.

“It is our music, our food, our culture, our entertainment. It’s endearing for Jamaica to own the fastest man ever and the fastest woman in the world and so many other superstars, Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and Miss Lou. It makes people curious; whether you are affluent or not, you are curious about this little place that you hear everybody talking about,” Mr. White said.

He argued that these are among the attributes that make Jamaica an attractive destination “for just about everybody of all types, kinds and affluence.”

Mr. White said the country’s earnings have grown over the last few years, as a result of visitors staying longer and spending more money in the island.

Between 2019 and 2022, the average length of visitor stay moved from around 6.9 nights to just over 8 nights and the average daily rate increased from US$168 to US$180 per person, per day.

Mr. White explained that Jamaica’s allure, particularly to more affluent visitors, is not a new phenomenon, as the country has been attracting “stars.”

“From as far back as 1955, 1960, 1965, the destination has always been an allure to the Hollywood stars. There have been several sightings of not just movie stars but also designers who own properties in Jamaica and who come three, four times a year and bring their friends and family with them,” he noted.

He added that Jamaica is the “heartbeat of the world [and] people want to experience what that means [and] what that represents for their tastes, preferences and affluence.”

To capitalise on this, the Ministry of Tourism will launch its Innovation-based Tourism Incubator on September 30 during Tourism Awareness Week. The Incubator is geared towards generating innovative ideas to create new or different experiences for visitors to the island.

Travel and Lifestyle

Jamaica’s Tourism Earnings Expected To Exceed US$4 Billion This Year

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Jamaica’s tourism earnings are expected to be “significantly higher” this year, exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels, says Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.

“We are looking now at earning in excess of US$4 billion this year, which would exceed 2019 figures by US$500 million to US$600 million,” he noted.

He said that visitor arrivals, including from cruise, are projected to be above three million, which is similar to 2019 figures.

“So, all in all, tourism is looking good,” the Minster said.

“We are making sure that the industry is [playing] its key growth role in the wider Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth arrangement,” he said, noting that priority is also being placed on ensuring that the sector is more inclusive, and provides for the well-being of Jamaica as a whole.

The Minister was speaking at a recent Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) head office in Kingston.

Director of Tourism, Donovan White, who also addressed the session, noted that visitors are staying longer in the destination, being more immersive and are spending more.

“In 2019, our average length of stay would have been somewhere around 6.9 nights. In 2022, we are just over eight nights per visitor,” said Mr. White, adding that the average daily rate in 2019 was approximately US $168 per person, per day while in 2022, the rate is US $180 per person, per day.

He noted that during the extended stay, visitors are going to more restaurants, bars, parties, events and are buying more craft and taking more tours.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism will observe Tourism Awareness Week from September 25 to October 1, under the theme: ‘Rethinking Tourism’.

A series of activities have been organised to include a church service and the virtual Edmund Bartlett lecture series on Sunday, September 25; the ‘Style Jamaica’ runway show on Monday, September 26; a tourism opportunities visionary symposium on Tuesday, September 27; a youth forum on Wednesday, September 28; a special virtual knowledge forum on Thursday, September 29; the official launch of the innovation-based tourism incubator on Friday, September 30; school speaking engagements from Monday, September 26 to Friday, September 30; a tourism stakeholder engagement activity and a youth poster competition.

 

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2023 Will Be A Great Comeback Year For The Country’s Hospitality Sector….Edmund Bartlett

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Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says there is every indication that 2023 will be a great comeback year for the country’s hospitality sector, where both earnings and arrivals are expected to exceed pre COVID-19 levels.

The Minister, who was speaking at the World Travel Awards Caribbean and Americas ceremony, at Sandals Montego Bay, on August 31, said that as it stands, tourism earnings (over the same corresponding period) have already exceeded 2019, while arrivals are just a trifle behind.

“Based on the trajectory, we have every reason to believe that 2023 will be an unbelievable year for tourism,” the Minister noted.

“We have recovered faster than anybody could have imagined, and for this I must commend the team at the Ministry of Tourism and also all of our international partners,” he added.

The Minister also noted that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) saw a jump in earnings from April to July, pulling in more than $2.4 billion over the period, and representing a 20 per cent increase when compared to pre-COVID-19 earnings.

Mr. Bartlett said that not only was the destination close to full recovery but that Jamaica continues to strengthen its resilience and remains on par with rival competitors – the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

“Without a doubt, our recovery numbers are the best in the English-speaking Caribbean,” he pointed out.

“We are also a model for many tourism-dependent countries, many of whom have patterned their recovery programmes off what we have managed to do here in Jamaica,” the Minister added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett said it was with great pride and honour that Jamaica hosted the World Travel Awards, noting that it speaks volume as to how well “recognised and respected” the destination has become in tourism circles.

Several of the island’s hoteliers, attraction operators, villas and transportation companies received top awards at the ceremony.

Jamaica won the awards for the Caribbean’s leading destination, leading cruise destination, and leading Tourist Board.

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Mergers and acquisitions

Medical Associates Hospital & Knutsford Court Hotel To Be Transformed Into A State-Of-The-Art Health District – Part 4 The Business Opportunity – Medical Tourism Expansion

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JAMPRO, the Jamaican Government’s investment agency, is seeking international collaborations in order to improve medical infrastructure and services in the island with the aim of climbing in the rankings for medical tourism.

Medical tourism is the industry which seeks to encourage people who reside in other countries to come to the island both for excellent medical care in a range of specialties, as well as sun, sea, sand and the warmth of the people of the island.

A PWC report forecast that the medical tourism market would value US$125 billion by 2021 while the wellness market could reach US$808 billion. Internationally, Thailand and India are renowned medical tourism destinations, with millions travelling annually for affordable medical care.

Three known participants in the Jamaican medical tourism industry are the Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC), Prosurgicare Services Limited and the Carnegie Hand Institute.

Heart Institute of the Caribbean is described as the first and only premier cardiovascular hospital in Jamaica and the Caribbean at large, which also offers telemetry service with various branches across Jamaica.

HIC is a full diagnostic centre and medical clinic which aims to provide fast, effective, and affordable treatment for all cardiac and cardiac-related illnesses that need urgent treatment by certified specialists. It has an 11-bed intensive care unit. HIC has practice partners across the Caribbean.

Prosurgicare Services Ltd, which is located in Kingston, is a plastic and aesthetic surgery practice headed by Dr Jan Hoctritt. Dr Hochtritt is a German board-certified double specialist with over 20 years of experience. As a general and plastic surgeon, he specialises in aesthetic surgery, breast reconstruction including modern microsurgical techniques, as well as hand and wrist surgery. His skills have assisted a broad range of patients — from cancer survivors and deformed persons to aesthetic patients seeking to augment their beauty.

The Carnegie Hand Institute located in Kingston is headed by Dr Cecil Aird and provides specialised services in the diagnosis, surgical treatment and rehabilitation of the hand and wrist.

JAMPRO notes that there are also investors in the area of medical training for the industry.

 

In international medical tourism rankings Jamaica is highly rated for the beauty of the island, but scores low overall on medical infrastructure.

The Medical Tourism Index 2020-2021, which provides a comprehensive analysis of the medical travel industry, ranks American perceptions of 46 international health-care destinations, providing insight into how consumers view 41 criteria across three primary dimensions including destination attractiveness, safety, and quality of care.

For the destination criterion, Jamaica ranks 33rd out of the 46 destinations. For the medical tourism industry, it ranks 25. For quality of facilities and services it ranks 44 out of 46 destinations.

Carol Straw, manager of tourism & services at JAMPRO, informed that policy is being developed around which industry expansion can occur.

She stated, “Jamaica, with its established infrastructure for tourism and its highly qualified medical personnel, is well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by medical tourism. To enable the destination to improve its rankings internationally, there are several actions that are happening or will be taking place,” including liaising with international experts.

Straw said that, with regards to developing the ecosystem for medical tourism to thrive, “we will continue our efforts to identify more local and international players in the medical tourism field who can help the country to grow its own infrastructure. A medical tourism policy has also been drafted for discussion by the Government; this will contribute to creating the necessary framework for medical tourism to grow in Jamaica”.

At the same time, she outlined that the island will see accreditation from new bodies. She said, “While the facilities that are in Jamaica are good, it is important to secure international accreditation to gain the confidence of the medical tourist. The popular accreditation is offered by the Joint Commission International, however, there are other accreditation options available.”

One such option is Temos International, a European accreditation body that provides a more cost-effective option than the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation.

Straw said, “This agency has facilitated several sessions (webinars and face to face sessions) with the Jamaican medical community to formally introduce accreditation via this body. Through our work with Temos, we have focused on continuous quality improvement (CQI) in providing high-quality, safe, and competent care for patients, with the best available standards and the best-expected outcomes.

The JAMPRO executive expressed a concern about financing for industry development. She told the Business Observer, “A large part of developing the industry is in the financing. This will enable our doctors to take advantage of the accreditation processes and the opportunities that present themselves in the sector, and develop support personnel such as specialised nurses who help with the delivery of health care. JAMPRO is actively seeking donors who are willing to establish partnerships with local investors.”

At the same time, Straw stated that it is also critical to facilitate investment in health-care workers. Specialist doctors need the support of nurses, laboratory workers and other specialist staff in the build out of their operations.

She concluded that JAMPRO continues to work with local investors who are operating pre-med schools or who are in the process of formalising and building out their operations.

Source: https://www.miic.gov.jm/content/jampro-seeks-partnerships-medical-tourism-expansion

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Mergers and acquisitions

Medical Associates Hospital & Knutsford Court Hotel To Be Transformed Into A State-Of-The-Art Health District – Part 3 The Project and Properties

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According to the press releases plans are in progress to transform the Knutsford Court Hotel property into a model business and lifestyle village that will build healthy living, productivity, and environmental sustainability into its operations.

Dr Walcott stated that Novamed believes that investing in healthcare extends beyond buying hospitals and clinics. It extends into creating productive spaces in everyday life that facilitate healthy and sustainable undertones to our professional and personal activities.

Medical Associates Hospital and Medical Center (MAH)

MAH was established in 1959 by Dr. J.T Burrowes whose vision was to create the finest private healthcare facility in Jamaica, offering a wide range of medical services of the highest quality to its patients, with care, compassion, and kindness.

Throughout the years Medical Associates Hospital has gained a reputation for excellent nursing care, experienced and highly-trained consultants, physicians and surgeons, and forging new pathways in medicine.

MAH is a First-Class healthcare facility that is proud to have forged long-standing relationships and alliances with over 60 companies and corporations in Jamaica, including embassies and consulates, international shipping lines, security companies, manufacturing plants, and telecommunications companies, to name a few.

Our excellent relationships with our highly trained medical team and our family of patients, coupled with our unwavering commitment to quality healthcare services and advancements in medical technology has significantly contributed in helping the hospital build a positive, progressive and unquestionable reputation in the healthcare sector.

MAH has three entrances; one on Ruthven Road, one on Chelsea Avenue and its main entrance, on Half Way Tree Road, and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Knutsford Court Hotel

Businessman Kevin Hendrickson brought his talent and experience to The Knutsford Court Hotel, his second hotel acquisition in Kingston (The Courtleigh Hotel & Suites being the first). Located in the Half Way Tree area of the city, The Knutsford Court Hotel is unique in its ability to suit every type of traveller and budget, with accommodation and amenities for corporate visitors, groups, couples and families.

Modernization is at the heart of the hotel, with state-of-the-art point of sales systems, fire prevention and sprinkler systems throughout, an intricate surveillance camera system and electronic key lock for bedrooms as well as complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi access.

Hotel Four Seasons?

It was recently reported that First Rock bought one of several hotels which are near the Medical Associates Hospital. It is understood that this hotel will be added to the MAH portfolio, causing a possible conflict of interest on Dr Banbury’s behalf, hence his resignation.

Hotel Four Seasons, a long-standing part of Kingston’s hospitality landscape, and sits just across the road from both Medical Associates Hospital & Knutsford Court Hotel was placed on the market for sale by its owners, who are seeking US$16 million, or about $2.5 billion in Jamaican currency, for the property located on Ruthven Road. There has been no further public announcement on this pending sale.

Medical Associates Hospital & Knutsford Court Hotel To Be Transformed Into A State-Of-The-Art Health District – Part 4 The Business Opportunity – Medical Tourism Expansion

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Mergers and acquisitions

Medical Associates Hospital & Knutsford Court Hotel To Be Transformed Into A State-Of-The-Art Health District – Part 2 The Players

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Novamed is led by Founder Dr David Walcott along with Kirk-Anthony Hamilton who heads Tech Beach Retreat & Roots Financial Group founder, Kevin Donaldson.

Dr-David-Walcott-Founder-Managing-Partner-NovaMed

Kirk-Anthony Hamilton who heads Tech Beach Retreat

Roots Financial Group founder, Kevin Donaldson.

Novamed is focused on bringing innovative solutions to emerging markets in the Caribbean and Latin America through investing in healthcare-specific assets including real estate, operating companies, and medical technology.

Novamed’s portfolio of companies includes First Step, a medical education business and CareerMD, a professional consultancy for medical practitioners.
Novamed has also invested in the 30-year-old Windward Medical Centre, whose services it has digitised since its 2018 acquisition, through the implementation of an electronic medical record (EMR) software with artificial-intelligence-driven decision-making capabilities to optimise health care decisions around patients.

First Rock Real Estate Investments Limited formally FirstRock Capital Holdings Limited is led by Chairman Norman Reid, Co-founder and Director Dr. Michael Banbury and FirstRock Group of Companies co-founder Ryan Reid.

Ryan Reid

FirstRock Capital Holdings Limited Chairman Norman Reid

FirstRock Capital Holdings Limited Co-founder and Director Dr. Michael BanburyDr Michael Banbury, a popular medical practitioner, resigned earlier this year as the chief executive officer of the privately-owned Medical Associates Hospital (MAH). It is understood that Dr Banbury stepped down after being the hospital CEO for more than eight years, which puts him in a very good position to assess the value of the transaction.

First Rock Real Estate Investments Limited is committed to its vision to capitalize on investment opportunities, which will enable them to constantly increase shareholder value and deliver above average returns.

First Rock Real Estate Investments Limited currently has US$75 million in assets to date, which means that they are more than halfway to asset target of US$100M in the first five years.

Medical Associates Hospital & Knutsford Court Hotel To Be Transformed Into A State-Of-The-Art Health District – Part 3 The Project and Properties

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