Owners of attractions are now repackaging their products to cater to the local market, as a result of the loss being experienced with the cruise-shipping business due to the fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Most if not all of Jamaica’s major attractions derived anywhere from 40 per cent to 60 per cent of their overall businesses from cruise shipping,” said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mystic Mountain, Mike Drakulich.
“Nobody knows for sure what will happen to cruise shipping even though we are all hoping for the best. The hotel market is also not back to full strength, so we will have to find the business from somewhere to not only make up for some of the shortfall, but to also keep our shutters open and our staff employed,” he added.
Drakulich said it is against this background that owners of attractions have had to huddle privately and figure out how to get locals, many of whom have also been feeling the economic pinch, to come and experience “our fabulous and exciting packages.”
“This is how we came about in making the decision to concentrate mainly on our local business. That is our main survival plan for now. We will be concentrating on our local business, which can keep our staff employed and the gears oiled until hotel occupancy creeps back up in December… and, hopefully, the return of cruise shipping,” he said.
For her part, Marketing Manager for Chukka Caribbean Adventures, Khristina Rose, said that while her company has welcomed locals with a year-long discount to all its locations, Chukka continues to promote its locations to locals.
“Our island is beautiful and has a lot to be explored. At Chukka, we seek out the best in nature and build an experience around it that cannot be duplicated. We can enjoy all the benefits of reconnecting with nature while having fun right here at home,” Rose pointed out.
She said that Chukka, one of the biggest attractions in the Caribbean and certainly in Jamaica, now has a new Ocean Outpost at Sandy Bay, Hanover, which has become a major hit with locals, “with our new chill-out areas where you can spend the day relaxing after your tours by the new Oceanside infinity pool”.
Other attractions, such as Dolphin Cove, Dunn’s River Falls, YS Falls, and Lovers’ Leap have also been “repackaging” for locals and have been seeing sizable crowds.
For his part, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, said that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB)’s marketing programme, ‘Rediscover Jamaica’, which encourages locals to experience Jamaica and “its wonderful offerings”, has taken off in a big way where a number of attractions have been reporting very strong daily numbers.
“We are encouraged that in these challenging times our local Jamaicans can go to these properties at very affordable rates and enjoy a day out with their families,” he said.