Jamaica hopes to add 15,000 hotel rooms over the next five years, bringing total inventory to 40,000 rooms, according to Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett. 

Speaking at the Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Certified Partner Conference 2015 at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Ocho Rios, Bartlett mentioned three Sandals projects: a $350 million investment into its first city hotel in Kingston, expansion of the Sandals Negril, and development of Dragon Bay in Port Antonio. 

Sandals acquired the shuttered Dragon Bay Resort more than 14 years ago, but development is contingent upon sufficient air and road access for visitors to the area.

Supporting the Dragon Bay development is a government plan to lengthen the runway at the Ian Fleming Airport in Boscobel on the island's north coast near Ocho Rios to accommodate larger aircraft and open up air access for the eastern end of Jamaica. 

“The big jets that fly into Montego Bay cannot fly into Ian Fleming, but the Lear jets and the ATR aircraft can be accommodated,” Bartlett said.

Air access will open up opportunities for villa and small hotel operators in the region and hasten the development of Port Antonio, according to Bartlett. 

The airport, formerly the Boscobel Aerodrome, is named after Ian Fleming, the British novelist who wrote 14 of his James Bond thrillers at his estate in Jamaica called GoldenEye, now part of the Island Outpost group of boutique properties.

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