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Efforts to divest Milk River and Bath hotels renewed

Published:Friday 12:37 AM

The Jamaican Government is making another try at divesting Bath Fountain Hotel & Spa and Milk River Hotel & Mineral Spa, both of which fall under the control of the Ministry of Tourism.

The process will begin with due diligence studies.

“The Ministry of Tourism expects to conclude the due diligence studies in calendar year 2023,” said Delano Seiveright, senior adviser in the Ministry of Tourism.

“After the completion of the due diligence studies, the enterprise team will stage a full market sounding to select suitable investors for the properties.”

A team consisting of consultants within specified disciplines, along with technocrats from the Ministry of Tourism, will undertake the preparatory due diligence studies, while the Development Bank of Jamaica will oversee the financial aspect of the divestment, Seiveright said.

The studies will assess the land and quantity surveying; architecture, engineering covering civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing; flooding mitigation for Milk River Hotel and Spa; and a socio-economic assessment for the Bath community.

Both properties are outside the tourist belt, but sit close to rivers and streams that feed them with spring water that’s rich in minerals.

The Bath hotel consists of 16 rooms sited alongside a river in St Thomas. Milk River Bath consists of 20 rooms and six public baths in Clarendon.

Last October, stakeholders from the tourism, development bank and marketing agency Jampro hosted a pre-market sounding investor forum, the objective of which “was to assist in the identification of the factors that increase investor interest in the divestment of the Bath Fountain Hotel and Milk River Hotel & Spa,” said Seiveright.

“This event was a critical precursor in the privatisation of Milk River Hotel & Spa and Bath Fountain Hotel & Spa to identify a private-sector partner to rehabilitate, operate, maintain, and expand these facilities,” he said.

Back in 2014, approval was granted to the Ministry of Tourism to establish a multi-stakeholder enterprise team to facilitate the divestment of the Bath property. The enterprise team engaged a consultant to conduct a pre-feasibility study of the hotel, which was completed in March 2017.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com

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