Entrance Fees Go Up from January 1.
THE Soufriere Regional Development Foundation (SRDF) has formalized plans to increase entry fees at both of its premier tourist attractions, the Sulphur Springs Park and Gros Piton Nature Trail, effective January 1, 2017.
The new entrance fee at the Sulphur Springs Park will be pegged at US$15 inclusive of VAT and represents a full package experience. Presently, the sale of combination packages, guided tours and the “Black Water” pool bath are segregated under individually-tailored price schedules. However, the new fee will be a consolidation of each experience and give patrons the flexibility of choosing any of the offerings at one rate.
Over the past seven months, the SRDF has embarked on an extensive upgrade and enhancement of the facility with the primary focus on raising the general appeal and uniqueness for the attraction. Additionally, visitor and staff safety, operational best practice and fair employee remuneration are constantly being reviewed to ensure that the organization is maximizing its performance and accomplishing its established business mandates.
Due to continually growing visitor demand, two additional pools will be constructed in tandem with a new nature trail that conjoins to the main existing pool and will be fully commissioned by December 31, 2016. A huge challenge for the Sulphur Springs Park has been the consistent inadequacy of water due to supply. However, this is actively being addressed by increasing the park’s water storage capacity to 10,000 gallons with the installation of supplementary water tanks.
The park’s security profile is also being upgraded with the inclusion of closed-circuit television cameras and increased trained personnel. Notwithstanding, a vendors arcade is being fully refurbished and commissioned to house the continued sale of local ornaments, arts and craft and other apparel.
In order to augment and facilitate easier access to the park, an additional cashier’s and security booth will be constructed to ease congestion and add an extra element of comfort to patrons, visitors and other stakeholders who frequent the site on a regular basis. The organization’s projects team is also in the advanced stage of working on the facilitation of additional lighting to accommodate the extension of business hours from 8:30 a.m. to midnight.
According to Project Officer, Mr. Malcolm Mathurin, “The additional enhancements to this amazing site will only serve to create a more welcoming atmosphere for our patrons and guests. The additional pools and other upgraded services will continue to make this site the envy of other eco-tourism attractions in the region and beyond.”
Meanwhile at the Gros Piton Nature Trail, the new entrance fee will be pegged at US$50 inclusive of VAT and covers the customary and recently upgraded services offered to patrons and other stakeholders.
During the months of July through to November, the SRDF convened a number of staff certification programmes in order to develop the capacity and competence of the operation’s human resource capital.
A number of structural interventions have also been carried out, including the construction of a new parking lot and wooden railings on the nature trail to the summit of the piton peak, upgraded bathroom amenities and road renovations for ease of access to the site.
The organization is also currently in the process of constructing a new administrative office in order to fully maximize the existing reception office as a functional interpretation centre with state-of-the-art equipment, including audio-visual and passive interpretation aids.
In a ground-breaking initiative, a new climb experience dubbed “Splash and Hike” will see the formal opening of an additional entrance to the nature trail through the AnseL’Ivorgne Beach on December 1, 2016. The hike experience which begins at sea level affords visitors the option of accessing the site via boat, maximizing the tour’s full adventure potential. As a direct result of this, the organization has been able to create more employment and other job opportunities for people residing within the local community.
“Staff continually express gratitude for the upgraded services and have pledged their full commitment in ensuring that they give professional and uncompromised service to visitors, all the more come January 2017 on implementation of the new entrance fee,” said Ms. Rosan Wilfred, Gros Piton Nature Trail Supervisor.
“It is the commitment of the Board of Directors and management to fully capitalize on the exhaustive potential that lies in the Sulphur Springs Park and Gros Piton Nature Trail, the strategic and careful management of these sites will ultimately redound to huge economic gains not only for Soufriere but the county as whole. Revenue generated from our operational sites are reintroduced into the local economy and form the fiscal backbone for a number of our socio-economic projects like our scholarship and bursary programme, which has aided a total of 200 families for this year, medical relief assistance and community development undertakings,” stated Mr. Jimmy Haynes, Executive Director of the SRDF.
The Soufriere Foundation is a non-profit company located in Soufriere. Its mandate is to undertake social, cultural, human resource, tourism and infrastructure development in the Soufriere area. The organization which was established in 1993 generates revenues from its operational sites: the Sulphur Springs Park, Gros Piton Nature Trail, Comfort Center, Soufriere jetties and 88.5 Soufriere FM.