Ocho Rios reinventing itself
OCHO RIOS has been getting a lot of attention lately.
With the opening of the Falmouth cruise ship pier, coupled with complaints of tourist harassment, the number of ships docking at the Ocho Rios pier dwindled. Several businesses also relocated to Falmouth as a result of the new pier.
The year 2014 has spelled good fortunes for Ocho Rios, however, as several positives have been associated with the resort town.
Funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Port Authority of Jamaica has seen more than $400 million being spent to upgrade the pier and surrounding areas.
The Tourism Product Development Company is to implement a maintenance and beautification plan for the town.
In November, at the World Travel Awards in London, several awards were given to Ocho Rios entities.
The cruise ship pier was voted Leading Caribbean Port, Dolphin Cove was voted the Caribbean's Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction, and Jamaica Inn the Caribbean's Leading All-Suite Hotel and Jamaica's Leading Hotel.
From a local perspective, Mystic Mountain was voted Jamaica's Best Attraction at The Gleaner Company's Hospitality Jamaica 10th Anniversary Awards, while Eva Myers of Evita's Italian Restaurant was awarded the National Commercial Bank's Nation Builder Women Business Award 2014.
Meanwhile, work continues on Jamaica Grande to transform the property into a five-star resort in time for the January 2015 opening.
"And with Dunn's River continuing to receive record number of clients, it means we have the best accommodation and attractions in Jamaica," boasted Vana Taylor, chair-person for the Ocho Rios/ Runaway Bay Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.
Taylor has commended the police "for the tremendous work" they have been doing in controlling crime, harassment and the flow of traffic in Ocho Rios.
Taylor also commended the work of the anti-harassment team implemented by the tourism minister, which, she said, continues to enhance the experience of visitors as well as citizens.
- Carl Gilchrist