Blue Lagoon closed for restructuring

SAN SAN, Portland — Blue Lagoon, one of Jamaica’s most popular visitor attractions which was named a national monument two years ago, was closed on Monday for restructuring to ensure improvements that the island’s tourism authorities say are needed for compliance with the law.

Vendors at the Portland attraction, famous for its glistening, turquoise-blue waters surrounded by lush greenery, had started pulling down their stalls from Sunday in compliance with a closure notice issued after a meeting with stakeholders earlier this month.

From early Monday morning police and soldiers were at the attraction to oversee the operation. There was no opposition to the closure, however, which journalists were told earlier this month should last a month.

According to the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the restorative work will be implemented in three phases. The first will include sensitisation for tour operators by the police force and the marine/coast guard.

“Phase two will see the engagement of Blue Lagoon Alliance members, Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), Alligator Head Foundation, and TPDCo. It will involve training, registration and certification of personnel from the area to ensure best practices,” the agency said in a news release this month, adding that a comprehensive clean-up of the area will be done by the National Solid Waste Management Authority.

“The final phase will see the JNHT and TPDCo adopting a draft co-management agreement and establishing the Blue Lagoon as a protected area. A determination will also be done of the activities that will be allowed and a timeline will be established for the reopening of the facility,” the release had said.

Over the weekend the Jamaica Observer learnt that 10 of the vendors have been employed to help clean up the attraction, while licensed fishing boats will be allowed to remain and operate for fishing only. Additionally, consultations will continue with all stakeholders in relation to future activities to be allowed at the attraction.

The Blue Lagoon was made a national monument because of its aesthetic and scientific values which include varying shades of blue water, its verdant rainforest, plants, as well as endemic and endangered species.

The lagoon, which is fed by freshwater springs, is a mixture of fresh and saltwater as it is open to the sea.

The attraction’s stunning beauty was featured in the 1988 Hollywood movie Cocktail starring Tom Cruise. Scenes from the 1988 drama Clara’s Heart, starring Whoopi Goldberg, were also filmed there.

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