Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said a loan product from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to help contractors refurbish small hotels and tourist attractions will be bolstered by additional funds.
But he says details will be provided later.
The TEF is a government initiative to promote the growth and development of the tourism sector.
The current 5x5x5 TEF loan, part of a larger TEF loan program launched in 2007, is offered to tourism entrepreneurs. It is offered to individuals under a partnership agreement with the small business lending division of JN Bank.
JN recently revealed at a session for small and medium tourism businesses in New Kingston that some $900 million in loans have been disbursed since the program began.
Garfield Palmer, head of the SME unit in JN Bank’s small business lending division, said the 5x5x5 TEF loan accounts for more than half of JN Bank’s approved TEF loans to entrepreneurs in the sector.
“Through April 30, 2022, we have disbursed a total of 430 loans through the TEF program, worth nearly $900 million. And of the 430 loans disbursed, the 5x5x5 continues to be the most accessible, with 278 loans issued to date under the program,” Palmer said.
“The maximum loan amount offered is $5 million at an interest rate of 5% per annum on the declining balance. And, one can receive up to a six-month moratorium on the principal, if necessary,” he added.
JN Bank is also offering two other TEF loans under the partnership agreement – the TEF Default Transport Loan and the TEF Community Tourism Loan.
The TEF Default Transport Loan, which is an interest-free loan, was created to provide partial or full repayment of loan arrears accumulated on a tourism transport loan, while the Community Tourism Loan is intended to help all MSMEs in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth.