Recreation & Tourism Programme
To provide and facilitate the provision of recreational opportunities for local and international visitors using ecotourism principles in order to generate income and support for the BJCMNP.
|Objective 1||To provide and facilitate recreational and educational opportunities geared at raising awareness and support of the BJCMNP, as per existing plans.|
|Objective 2||To generate income to support park management by increasing income from the BJCMNP’s recreational areas and the Blue Mountains Sustainable Tourism Programme by 150% over the five years.|
|Objective 3||To engender community support for the BJCMNP as well as natural and cultural heritage conservation by facilitating benefits to local communities.|
|Objective 4||To ensure that recreation and tourism activities do not threaten the BJCMNP’s biodiversity, provision of ecosystem services and cultural heritage.|
The National Park’s main recreational areas are at Holywell and the Blue Mountain Peak Trail. However, there has been an increased focus over the years on community tourism. The focus for 2011 to 2016 will be to obtain the funds to implement the Blue Mountains Sustainable Tourism Programme which will result in achievement of all the objectives of the BJCMNP Recreation and Tourism Programme.
As indicated, the focus for this period has been on seeking funds for full implementation of the plans for a world-class sustainable tourism destination with the National Park at its hub. It is hoped this will be realised between 2015 and 2016. So far the following have been key achievements for the period:
|# of visitors (to Holywell & Portland Gap/Peak Trail)||8,401||11,797||10,222||14,331||15,650|
|Increase in revenue over previous year||40%||38%||-7%||29%||26%|
|Improvements||New Signage at Holywell||-||Trail Improve-ments at Holywell||Infrastructure Improvements at Holywell||-|
Between 2005 and 2010, Holywell infrastructure suffered from the negative impact of hurricanes and tropical storms in 2007 and 2008 (having also suffered damage in 2004). This is partly due to the location of the site in the Hardware Gap between the Port Royal and Blue Mountains in addition to the numerous trails all of which funnel hurricane force winds and result in damage to trees (particularly the non-native trees still remaining at Holywell) and buildings. Based on the preparation and implementation of the EMS, Holywell obtained Green Globe certification in 2005, however Park management was unable to maintain the certification due to the costly fees (for auditing and membership).
Despite this, recreational and educational opportunities were increased and improved over the period e.g. the Kids Discovery Zone and the development of educational packages for schools. Further, community-based organisations such as the Bowden Pen Farmers Association and Charles Town Maroon Council were assisted in improving and expanding the opportunities available within their communities, thus broadening the type of experiences available to visitors. Of note, facilitation of sustainable tourism training for over 125 community members, particularly raising awareness and knowledge about the BJCMNP, basic tourism and hospitality training through the nationally accredited TEAM JAMAICA programme (50 certified) and TPDCo. Tour Guide training (23 certified). The ecotourism approach used, in particular with respect to facilitating benefits to local communities, resulted in community support for the Park, as reflected in volunteerism and interest shown by community members in Park activities and events. Of special note, was the training of youth from around Holywell to assist with educational packages, allowing the youth to generate some income for themselves whilst helping the Park. Visitors to Holywell in particular showed interest and several made cash donations or provided other forms of support to Park management.
Improvements were made to the Waterfall Trail and to interpretation in the picnic areas in 2010.