Jamaica continues to boast some of the finest attractions in the Caribbean, which tourism stakeholders say have been acting as major pull factors in attracting cruise and stopover visitors.
This, they also note, has been contributing to businesses all around, where tourism interests – craft traders, transport operators, restaurant owners and hoteliers – are benefiting.
“The cruise lines will tell you that Jamaica has some of the best attractions in the world,” says Senior Advisor and Strategist in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright.
“Dunn’s River Falls, as the Caribbean’s biggest attraction, is the one that readily comes to mind. It is arguably one of our biggest pull factors and a major hit with cruise visitors, scores of whom return with their families to the island for longer stays,” he says.
Dunn’s River is a state-owned entity which is operated by the St. Ann Development Company (SADCo), a subsidiary of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
While a favourite for film-makers and adventure seekers, what makes the Dunn’s River experience so unique is that guests can climb from the beach, passing many coves, lagoons and pools as they make their way to the peak of the falls.
Guests are led by professional and well-trained guides who adhere to all safety policies throughout the entire climb. There is also an option to climb or simply admire the attraction’s scenic beauty and ambience.
Mr Seiveright says that in addition to Dunn’s River, there are Chukka, Dolphin Cove, Mystic Mountain, and Good Hope, and rafting on the Rio Grande and Martha Brae rivers.
“It is a fact that many cruise visitors come back for a longer stay so as to experience the allure of Dunn’s River and the other attractions,” he said.
“What is so beautiful about these experiences is that all the resort towns have their own attractions with their uniqueness… which adds variety to the tourism product,” Mr Seiveright says.
President of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), Michelle Paige, at a recent forum hosted by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the destination that packages its tourism offerings to suit the needs of the visitor is more likely to do better than those who do not.
“A happy cruise passenger will not only spend money but will more likely than not come back for a longer stay. My association is fully aware of the many passengers that have returned to your beautiful country because of the world-class attractions,” she told the business forum.