KINGSTON, Jamaica – Michael Belnavis, Chairman of Jamaica’s National Cruise Council (NCC), says upgrading of the Dunn’s River Falls attraction in Ocho Rios will further boost Jamaica’s growing cruise sector.
Belnavis said that Jamaica was already on course to becoming the number-one cruise destination in the region and that the recent Dunn’s River upgrade has all but sealed the deal.
“Dunn’s River has been for many years the number-one attraction in the Caribbean. Such has been its dominance that almost every attraction between Falmouth and Ocho Rios has married their product with Dunn’s River as part of their marketing strategy. It is now fashionable for them to tell the guest to go to Dunn’s River first, then finish off your day with us for one price,” he said.
Belnavis added that it is within this context that the new $122-million Central Gardens theme park at Dunn’s River will bring even more guests and, by extension, more cruise ships to Jamaica.
He said the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and its local subsidiary, the St Ann Development Company, should be commended for their vision and their commitment to the enhancement of the tourism product.
The UDC, on March 23, officially opened the Central Gardens at Dunn’s River, unveiling a state-of-the-art theme park that comes equipped with a water slide and a splash pad.
Belnavis noted that Dunn’s River currently attracts in excess of 800,000 visitors annually, a figure he expects to surpass one million before year end.
The Chairman said that in addition to Dunn’s River, Chukka has recently invested US$3.5 million in its Good Hope, Trelawny, facility; Wata Land in St Mary has spent in excess of US$1 million doing an upgrade, while Appleton has pumped $1 billion into upgrading its visitor centre in St Elizabeth.
“This is testament to the fact that they are happy with the road we are on and are confident that what they are investing represents value for money,” Belnavis said.
For his part, Chukka’s Senior Director, Marc Melville, said that he has every confidence in Jamaica’s tourism and the direction in which it is going.
“We have no problem investing our money, as we like what we are seeing. The ships are coming, and we see all the effort being put into upgrading the resort areas,” he said