By Garwin Davis
JIS Contributing Writer
St. Mary, Jamaica, April 27 (JIS) — Jamaica’s world-class attractions are becoming a catalyst for the tourism sector, acting as major pull-factors to get many cruise and short-term visitors to return for longer stays.
This, according to industry players, has been having a trickled-down effect where stakeholders such as craft traders, transport operators and restaurant owners, have all benefitted.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, owner of the popular Wata Land Eco Water Park in St. Mary, Gobind Dansinghani, said Jamaica has learnt from the experiences of places like New Orleans, Orlando, Las Vegas and Miami Beach.
“Orlando and Las Vegas in particular are driven by the attractions and we see people coming from far and wide to visit the Magic Kingdom, MGM Studios and also the Casinos. That is exactly what we are now seeing with the attractions in Jamaica and I dare say that they are now the reason why a lot of tourists are coming here,” he said.
The State-owned Dunn’s River Falls, arguably the Caribbean’s biggest attraction, attracts thousands of visitors per year from the cruise ships, scores of whom return with their extended families to boost stopover arrivals.
“There is no underestimating the power of Dunn’s River Falls and the contribution it continues to make towards our growing tourism numbers,” declared St. Ann Development Company (SADCo)’s Property Manager, Janice Chong, in an interview with JIS News.
“It is a fact that many cruise visitors come back for a longer stay as a result of the Dunn’s River experience. It remains our number one attraction and also continues to grow in popularity. It is family oriented and is complemented with a great staff whose job is to ensure the ultimate guest satisfaction,” she added.
Chong revealed that plans are well advanced for further development at Dunn’s River, a move which is aimed at broadening its appeal and cementing its status as the number one attraction in the entire Caribbean.
SADCo, the operators of the Dunn’s River property, is a subsidiary of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
Meanwhile, Senior Director of the Royal Shop, one of the nation’s leading duty free shopping stores, Ravi Daswani, said Jamaica boasts some of the finest duty-free stores in the world, and that many visitors also come back for the shopping experience.
“From a duty-free standpoint, we are also an attraction. When it comes to jewellery and precious stones, very few places in the world can compare. Selection and price is what makes us such an attractive shopping destination,” he stated.
He added that with the duty-free status, prices can be as much as 20-40 per cent below the full retail price when compared to the United States and Europe.
In the meantime, President of the Port Antonio Resort Board, Larry Robertson, said Jamaica should continue to build and develop newer attractions, warning that there is hardly any room for complacency.
“It is clear that our tourism is now attraction driven. As long as we can get the people wanting to come back, then we will have to continue building more hotel rooms and continue to see growth throughout the industry,” he said.