Dunn's River Falls sees uptick in visitors since reopening


Dunn's River Falls sees uptick in visitors since reopening

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

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Dunn's River Falls and Park has been recording an uptick in patronage since reopening to the public on July 21, following a four-month closure due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The popular 28-acre facility got the go-ahead from the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) on July 17 to resume daily operations, after the management was deemed to have satisfactorily instituted the requisite COVID-19 protocols and safeguards.

Park Manager, Michelle Sawyers, says the growing level of patronage seen since the reopening is indicative of the facility's status and the high regard in which it is held as the Caribbean's premier resort attraction.

“Even while we were closed back in March, we had to have some of our workers here on location to keep the park in a state of readiness, knowing that at some point we would be called on to reopen. It was a lot of work… and for that I must commend the team here at Dunn's River; it was a total team effort,” Sawyers said.

She added that in keeping with Ministry of Health and Wellness-mandated safety guidelines, patrons must wear masks and do a temperature check on entering the property.

She says while guests are not required to wear masks when climbing the falls, they are encouraged to carry one in a pouch which they must put on after completing the trek.

The park manager advised that masks and pouches are available at the property, which has also been outfitted with hand-washing and sanitisation stations strategically positioned for guests and staff.

She anticipates a gradual increase in the facility's patronage over time, noting its unique distinction of being a haven for both local and overseas visitors.

“This is even more the reason why we have to follow protocols and ensure that we keep our staff and visitors safe,” Sawyers added.

Local industry stakeholders are also upbeat about the reopening of Dunn's River Falls.

Several of them note that this is one of the most telling signs that “[Jamaica's] tourism is on its way back”.

Restaurant operator at the popular Ocho Rios Fishing Village, Marcus King, says the attraction's closure had a significant negative ripple effect on business.

“What usually happens is that we get a lot of spinoff [patronage] from there… where persons would visit the restaurants for lunch after climbing the falls. Here, at the fishing village, that was a big part of our operations. [So] local [business operators] are very happy with the reopening,” he said.

Each year, Dunn's River Falls welcomes thousands of local and overseas visitors.

At about 180 feet (55 metres) high and 600 feet (180 m) long, the waterfalls are terraced like giant natural stairs, although some aspects incorporate man-made reconfigurations.

Several small lagoons are interspersed among the vertical sections of the falls, which flows into the Caribbean Sea at the western end of a white-sand beach.

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