Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the investments made by Chukka Caribbean Adventures to upgrade and reopen facilities in Jamaica, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is a further indication of investor confidence in the strengthening of the local tourism sector.
Chukka spent US$2 million on a new nature adventure park, which opened in Sandy Bay, Hanover last December, and a further US$250,000 to upgrade its Good Hope attraction in Trelawny, which reopened July 2.
“The money spent on remodeling and reinventing the experience at both facilities, to make them both COVID-19 compliant and to put them in a position where they can be compared favourably with all the top attractions of the world where the new visitors would want to go, is money well spent,” Minister Bartlett told JIS News.
“As a reliable partner and a major credit to Jamaica’s tourism offerings, Chukka’s contribution to the tourism industry is immeasurable. Their attractions remain world-class, both in product and service, and they are also a major pull factor for both cruise and stopover visitors,” he pointed out.
Mr. Bartlett said he is particularly pleased that with the recent investments made by the company, many displaced workers have returned to work.
“I am heartened by the fact that many of these workers are now back on the job, and this is where we must give credit to all the stakeholders for their survival instincts; their ability to tough it out and to deal with one of the greatest pandemics ever known to man, and to be in a position now where they can reopen their doors and welcome back their employees,” he noted.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chukka Caribbean Adventures, Marc Melville, told JIS News that the company has always been guided by the old adage that “wherever there is a crisis there are always opportunities, and that was something we felt to the core while battling this pandemic”.
“In the middle of this, many people would have stopped investing. Investment comes out of hope and confidence and… knowing that we were going in the right direction. That allowed us to go against the tide, put our money where our mouth is and build out the [facilities] that we now have on full display,” he noted.
Good Hope and Chukka Ocean Outpost Sandy Bay are part of the list of attractions operated by the company in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, Belize and, more recently, Barbados.