Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Give tourists access to attractions, Chukka boss appeals

Published:Friday | August 14, 2020 | 12:25 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


Following the release of a second COVID-19 order preventing visitors from leaving hotels during their vacation, the Ministry of Health & Wellness has been urged to revisit the rigid rules governing access to attractions that are on the brink of financial collapse.

Marc Melville, chief executive officer at Chukka Caribbean Adventures, said that the attractions sector was heavily dependent on an influx of tourists along the Resilient Corridor.

“We have the most to lose if it doesn’t work so, therefore, we have the most to gain if it does,” said Melville, who was speaking at a press conference at his office in Freeport, Montego Bay, on Wednesday.

Melville said that the attractions sector could face financial wipeout if visitors are forced to stay in their hotels and not venture out.

The new coronavirus Resilient Corridor runs along both the north and south coast limiting tourist movement as a COVID-19 precaution.

Measures were put in place for visitors who wanted to leave COVID-certified hotels to be transported in specially designated vehicles to specific bars, attractions or restaurants. However, that arrangement did not materialise.

“Soon after we were allowed to open, we heard the news that tourists will no longer be able to leave their hotels again,” said Melville, whose business is now suffering as a result of that decision.

Melville, whose Chukka Caribbean Adventures attractions company provides 1,000 direct and indirect jobs, acknowledged that the Resilient Corridor was critical to their survival.

“We have everything to lose if the corridor does not work. Our staff is trained and they are committed to the protocols, because it keeps us between that and full lockdown,” said Melville.