With cruise shipping at a standstill and stopover arrivals just returning, one popular tourist attraction – Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios, St. Ann – has set its sights firmly on the local market.
In an interview with JIS News, the attraction’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Michael Drakulich, said that prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Mystic Mountain had been creating special packages for locals, with the idea being to get “our own people to experience the first-class tourism product we have here in Ocho Rios”.
Mr. Drakulich pointed out that while the attractions have been waiting patiently for permission to reopen, Mystic Mountain has been busy making overtures to locals, and is “amazed and humbled” by the overwhelming response.
“We have for the past year, way before COVID-19, put a programme in place to target the local market on weekends. We are only now continuing with this as we encourage Jamaicans to come out and see the beauty that is Mystic Mountain. We are eager to get Jamaicans into our park having fun, and worry about the challenges ahead later,” he argued.
“Our local bookings going into the Independence weekend have been phenomenal… in some cases sold out. This speaks volumes as to the quality product we have and the kind of relationship we have fostered over time with our local community,” he added.
The attractions sector, closed since March, has been given the greenlight to reopen on July 21, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, told JIS News.
Mr. Drakulich said Mystic Mountain has put all the necessary health and safety protocols in place to meet the reopening date.
However, he noted that the attraction will not reopen for visitors at this point, only for “our pre-booked reservations made in Jamaica by Jamaicans”.
“Of course, things can rapidly change on a daily basis and by the nature of our facilities we have the ability to quickly adapt to any change in the status quo as we enter an unknown chapter in Jamaica’s battle against the virus, which our efforts, so far, have kept us safe, making us a shining example to the world,” he said.
“We are very prepared as we have spent the time training all our staff continuously. We have to ensure we remain safe, to keep all our guests safe and our Mystic Mountain family safe,” Mr. Drakulich added.