The Tourism Attraction Board has approved a new reduced package rate to tour operators who visit both Pedro Castle and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park as a combined tour.
The new package rate represents a further 20 per cent reduction on the tour operator rates currently offered, Mr. Connolly said.
Under the new arrangement, tour operators will pay $5 per person per attraction. It is proposed that the new rate will come into effect on 1 May, 2009 and will last for one year, at which time it will be assessed to determine whether the desired outcome has been achieved.
Should there be an increase in the number of visitors to the attractions the TAB will continue to offer the special rate, said the press release.
Admissions to Pedro St. James for the financial year June 2007 to 2008 stand at nearly 20,000. Although there were nearly 5,000 more admissions than the previous year, the performance is more than 10,000 down on the pre-Hurricane Ivan years of 2003-04 but very close to that of 2002-03.
At the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, the financial year 2007-08 showed the best rate of admissions in the past six years – 33,960.
The current 2008/09 year is not yet complete, with April May and June still to be accounted for. So far, Pedro St. James has 11,869 admissions this year while QEII Botanic Park has 20.
‘The TAB understands the vital role that tour operators play in promoting our attractions to visitors and welcomes their efforts to work with us to increase visitor numbers to Pedro Castle and the Botanic Park, particularly in this challenging economic climate. I am very pleased that the Board has approved the proposal for this new package rate and look forward to working with all the operators to ensure that this works for everyone’s benefit, including the visitors’ Mr. Connolly said.
Responding to notice of the new package rate, Charles Bush, of NCT Tours stated:
‘This could not have come at a better time for us as operators and I am happy that the TAB has taken note of our concerns and is putting this new arrangement in place. I think this is a positive move for us, the visitors and for the attractions. I believe that with this new package in place, tour operators will be even more motivated to develop new business for the new 2009-10 season’