Chukka's zipline boost for Dunn's River

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, October 11, 2019

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Business and tourism interests are confident that the new partnership between Chukka Caribbean Adventures and Dunn's River Falls will further boost cruise and stopover arrivals in the resort town.

Dunn's River Falls is a famous waterfall near Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and a major Caribbean tourist attraction that receives thousands of visitors each year.

“We all know about the marketing expertise of Chukka, and coupled with the fact now that they are in partnership with Dunn's River to introduce zipline service at what is an already popular attraction…this has the making of a winner,” said chairman of the National Cruise Council (NCC) and Mayor of St Ann's Bay Michael Belnavis.

The Falls Flyer is located at Chukka's Aerial Outpost at the Dunn's River Falls. It is a unique traverse system that journeys through treetops of the garden and walks across Indiana Jones styled bridges. It then extends over to the Falls Course and soars directly over the majestic waterfall on a series of ziplines and suspended bridges.

Chukka also installed a zipline a couple years ago at YS Falls in St Elizabeth.

Belnavis, who is also councillor of the Ocho Rios Division where Dunn's River is located, said it should also be noted that there is a planned upgrading of the Dunn's River Falls attraction, outlined and tabled recently in the 2019/20 Public Bodies Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in the House of Representatives by Dr Nigel Clarke, and which will undoubtedly complement what Chukka is doing, “giving Jamaica the lion's share of the growing cruise shipping market in the region”, the mayor said.

Belnavis noted that “everything Chukka touches is gold”, and that there is a lot of excitement and buzz surrounding this new partnership, especially as it relates to employment and other trickle-down benefits.

“Dunn's River has been, for many years, the number one attraction in the region,” he pointed out.

Belnavis said it has been a long time since he has seen this level of enthusiasm by the business community in Ocho Rios, adding that it is hard to imagine anything more exciting than “ziplining over Dunn's River”.

“This will be an added treat for the guests,” he noted. “If you climb the falls and get tired, you can simply zipline your way back down; or if you don't feel like climbing the falls then you can zipline across the property to experience its scenic view and picturesque beauty.”

Belnavis added that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and its local subsidiary, the St Ann Development Company (SADCo), deserved all the credit in the world for forging the partnership with Chukka, a move he said will “greatly enhance the crowned jewel” in Jamaica's tourism coffers.

For her part, Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahinie Robinson, in whose St Ann North Eastern constituency Dunn's River falls, said a zipline is a popular tourism attraction all over and can only add to the “the mystical appeal of Dunn's River”.

“It is my belief that most Jamaicans have visited Dunn's River Falls at least once in their lifetime,” she noted. “It is by far the biggest and best attraction in the region and which…and this might come as a surprise…has not yet reached its full potential.”

She added: “This partnership with Chukka is one that will greatly assist Dunn's River in realising that potential, and also one that will significantly boost earnings for the tourism sector.”

Robinson said she also wants to make it clear that as the attractions continue to grow “the interest of every single worker” must be taken into consideration, and they should continue to feel “that they are indeed a part of something special and unique”.

“Dunn's River did not just happen overnight,” Robinson further pointed out. “There are those who have been here since its inception and who have contributed immensely to its growth. We cannot afford to forget their contributions…whether it's the jelly man or whether it's the cleaner man or woman, or even a craft vendor.”


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