Little Dunn's River vendors happy at tourists' returnTuesday, July 06, 2021
BY AKERA DAVIS
OCHO RIOS, St Ann — The popular Little Dunn's River beach corridor in this resort town is coming back to life and vendors are thrilled. They anticipate that things will only get better now that tourists, whose purchases they depend on, are returning in increasing numbers each day.
“Tourist come every day and we feel good for that, but in August me believe seh me will see more of them,” said 32-year-old swimsuit vendor Giovanni Morrison.
He pointed out that he has earned a living along the corridor for more than five years.
“We get a lot of support from the tourist – them not afraid to spend their money. Locals will come and buy a shorts and so, but not much,” he added.
Over the past few weeks the tourism ministry has announced several new, or resumed, flights along with a plan for the return of cruise ship visitors in October, all welcome news for locals — both big and small players — who rely on the tourism dollar.
For more than a year Morrison, and others like him, have been under financial strain as the attraction, like others across the island, has been closed under the Government's COVID-19 prevention measures. They were once again open for business on June 3.
The reopening, vendors at Little Dunns River told the Jamaica Observer during a recent visit, has been a long time coming.
“I give blessings to the Government [for considering] us because things are 100 per cent better than what it used to be,” said bar operator Marvin Dunn who added that he has seen an uptick in business.
“Nothing was going on when the beaches were closed. I couldn't feed my kids, bills running up and I just didn't know what to turn to. At one point me try do construction work but it wasn't working out. All my little savings done; right now me just a try build up back myself,” said Dunn.
COVID-19 has upended the global tourism industry and some, like Norris Hudson, have had to pivot in order to keep earning a living.
The former river rafter now mans the gate at the entrance to Little Dunn's River – a smaller, more rustic version of Dunn's River Falls. He does temperature checks and ensures visitors sanitise their hands before they enter.
“We keep the place clean. When people come we spray them up with sanitiser, check them temperature and all a dat to make sure everything good. We still have to make sure we are doing what the Government seh,” Hudson explained.
He added that there have been more beach lovers coming to the venue with the recent adjustment of the curfew hours.
“We see more people because them get to stay longer, and me feel good for that because it's more business for us,” Hudson told the Observer.
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