Bonz Robertson, General Manager of Chukka Adventures says the US$9 million development of the new-look Harrison’s Cave Eco-Adventure Park currently underway in Barbados should bear significant fruit for the island’s tourism product.
He said the focus was on producing a world-class eco-adventure experience for locals and visitors, a development, he believes to be critical to the island’s tourism.
“We are going to do big things in Barbados with a whole new cave area. There is going to be big development and big investment in Barbados,” said Robertson.
“We see that as being a really, really huge project and something that is important to the development of Chukka and the continued development of the tourism product,” he said.
Robertson made the brief comments to Barbados TODAY on Tuesday, following a Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) organised visit by journalists to the company’s newest addition to its operation – bamboo rafting on the Martha Brae River in Trelawny.
Chukka Caribbean Adventures took over the management of Barbados’ premier tourist attraction – Harrison’s Cave – in December last year under a 25-year lease arrangement.
Shortly after, officials announced a major upgrade project that will include a range of new features such as a dry slide, an interactive green monkey experience, a canopy zipline, a suspension bridge and a bird aviary, among others.
Following a reopening of the St Thomas location in July this year, after 16 months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Group Chief Executive Officer of Chukka Caribbean Adventures Marc Melville told the media that phase one of the upgrades, which started in late August, would last six to eight months.
Robertson said he was unable to speak officially on the Barbados operation in detail, but pointing out that the investment in the Jamaica eco-adventure experience was ongoing. “It is an eco adventure. It is more of the same. Having led here in Jamaica we can lead again in Barbados.”
The Jamaica attraction reopened about six months ago, following a temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have started slow and we’ve now got to a stage where we are building up our numbers. The rafting, which you have just done is our new tour. It fits in beautifully with the eco-adventure. We are looking forward to cruise coming because that is probably 50 per cent of our business or more, and so our numbers are going to go up,” he said.
Robertson said investment in the Chukka Adventures at Good Hope Estate operations in Jamaica would continue in the months ahead, costing just under US$1 million.
In addition to Barbados and Jamaica, Chukka Caribbean Adventures also has operations in Belize, Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos.