Tourism drying up in Ocho Rios
The smell and sight of a dying town is unmistakable: There is silence in the streets of Ocho Rios at night which was once crammed with partygoers, heading to the casino or to bars and restaurants.
The Ocho Rios craft markets are hanging by a thread which may soon break. What will happen next? All the relevant social problems that tend to happen in matters of this nature! The famous restaurants are almost empty at evening.
We hear strange stories that some buses do not stop in Ocho Rios because of time constraints, and tourist harassment is still quoted as a critical factor.
On the matter of harrassment, the view has been expressed that taxi operators and passengers from other parishes, especially St Catherine, aggravate the situation.
Then there now seems to be a lack of access to Ocho Rios. While driving through rain last week, I was astonished to see huge, open unfinished drains all around the Fern Gully road, hazardous to any motorist. Alternative routing is through Breadnut Hill, but this is an arduous path, especially in traffic and rain.
Now a word about Falmouth. It seems no person can enter the exciting pier area without permission from the security guards, which is not easily given. Many visitors stay within the fenced pier, shopping and dining. A few craft vendors are allowed inside to sell their products. Visitors are allowed to take tours wherever they want. Some businesses stay outside on the fringe of the pier and they do a little business. There is talk of more money for Falmouth town improvement, but I think the Ocho Rios pier situation needs to be addressed urgently.