US$2-million, 26-acre facility in Hanover latest addition to Adventures family
There is a new visitor attraction in Jamaica, a 26-acre nature adventure park at Sandy Bay in Lucea, Hanover, that is the latest addition to the Chukka Caribbean Adventures family.
It was built at a cost of US$2 million, is a welcome boost to Jamaica’s tourism product, and has already received the endorsement of Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett who on Thursday officially opened the facility during a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Chukka Ocean Outpost Sandy Bay joins the list of attractions operated by the Jamaica-based company, Chukka Caribbean Adventures, which has operations in the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, Belize and, more recently, Barbados.
Ocean Outpost Sandy Bay has the added attraction of a unique leisure infrastructure with catamarans sailing the Hanover seacoast, diving, snorkeling and riding in the ocean on horseback. There are also two rivers and springs on the property.
The attraction was built by Chukka, working in collaboration with the Tourism Product Development Company, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Hanover Municipal Corporation and the National Environment and Planning Agency, which provided guidance in ensuring a sustainable and environmentally friendly facility.
Facility COVID-19 compliant
“The money spent on remodeling and reinventing this experience, to make it COVID-19 compliant and to put it in a position where it could stand with other attractions of the world and where the new visitors would want to go, was well spent,” said Bartlett.
He said he was particularly happy for the investment which came at a very difficult time.
According to the tourism minister, the investment represents a seal of confidence for Jamaica.
He added that “giving confidence to investors is what Jamaica is all about”.
Of special interest to Bartlett was the fact that the new park was enabling more of the island’s tourism workers, who were laid off by the shutting down of the tourism industry earlier this year due to COVID-19, the ability to return to work.
He projects that the current winter tourist season will peak about 40 per cent of what it was last year and provide more jobs. Following a tour of the property, the minister commended the innovation that had gone into creating “a facility that will enable the very health conscious, social distance conscious visitor to be happy to enjoy the experiences that are being offered here”.
Architectural arrangement of the attraction stands out
He observed that the architectural arrangement of the attraction provided for groups in the type of numbers that make it safe for visitors “to find their own bubble and to experience the beauty, the joy and the adrenalin rush that is required, as they seek to satisfy their own passions”.
For his part Chukka’s chief executive officer, Marc Melville, commended the investment made by the company during this challenging COVID-19 business environment.
“In the middle of this, many people would have stopped investing,” Melville said, noting that “investment comes out of hope and confidence”.
According to Melville, “it is the hope and confidence that we received from the leadership at the time, thriving 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 investment that we have here today”.