ST. JOHN — Virgin Island National Park Concessions Management Specialist Elba Richardson is certain there will be multiple bids submitted for the contract to offer concessions and accommodations at the top tourist attractions in the VINP.
The NPS professional took umbrage at one VINP critic’s assessment in a June 16 St. John Tradewinds report that there could be few bidders — or only one — for the new contract because it is written to favor the current holder of the expired concession contract for the former Rockefeller Resort property which is part of the Virgin Islands National Park.
There is “tremendous interest” in the concession contract, according to Richardson.
An electronic copy of the bidding prospectus for the concessions contract is available on line and anyone can download the prospectus at no cost, Richardson reiterated.
“Nobody would know” how many people have downloaded an electronic copy of the prospectus, Richardson reasoned.
Virgin Islands National Park officials are confident the bidding process for the “commercial services at Cinnamon and Trunk Bay” will produce competitive bidding, the VINP concessions specialist emphasized.
“Tremendous Interest” in Contract
NPS officials conducted a site visit on Wednesday, May 6, for “interested parties” and members of the public and about a dozen people attended, VINP’s Richardson said.
(It was not clear how many of the 12 persons attending the site visit were “interested parties” and how many might have been VINP visitors who may have thought it was an opportunity for a free tour.)
“The site visit isn’t mandatory,” Richardson explained.
The site visit was intended to be an opportunity for all interested parties to get an overview of the concession operation along with a tour of concession facilities associated with the draft contract and to ask specific questions, the NPS official explained.
“We are in the process of answering questions by interested persons,” Richardson told St. John Tradewinds on Thursday, June 18, without elaboration. “Answers will be posted (on the VINP website) within the next week.
Answers and Amendments
The NPS will also post “any amendments made to the original contract,” Richardson added, although she did not specify which amendments might be under consideration. One interested party had told St. John Tradewinds the length of the contract offered may be extended to attract additional bidders.
Richardson also did not specify how many questions were submitted or from how many “interested parties” or how many of the 12 people attending the site visit were “interested parties.”
The nebulous process apparently will reach a conclusion soon, however.
“By July 30th all bids have to be in,” Richardson said.
Within Virgin Islands National Park the concessioner will manage “commercial services at Cinnamon and Trunk Bay,” one of the most picturesque beaches in the world and the perennially No. 1 rated beach in the world.
VINP Superintendent Brion FitzGerald announced on April 7 that the National Park Service (NPS) had “issued a prospectus for solicitation of offers for a 15-year concession contract to provide Lodging, Camping, Food and Beverage, Retail, Equipment Rental and Other Services at Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay areas within Virgin Island National Park.”
“Park concessioners play a vital role in serving visitors in national parks,” Superintendent FitzGerald said in an April press release. “This long awaited prospectus will lead to issuance of a new concessions contract in 2016 that will offer the much anticipated improvements in visitor facilities and services at Cinnamon and Trunk Bay.”
“The business opportunity provides interested parties a range of hospitality services in this well-known national park and has the potential to touch the lives of over half a million recreational visitors on an annual basis,” the VINP release continued. “These operations include overnight experiences on the world famous Cinnamon Bay Beach either at the charming and rustic cottages or in pre-set up eco tents.”
Thursday, July 30, Deadline
All offers must be received by the NPS no later than 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 30. In order to be evaluated and considered for an award of a concession contract all proposals must meet this deadline.
The prospectus describes the business opportunity and includes the terms and conditions under which the NPS will award the concession contract, according to the VINP.
“Under this opportunity, the Concessioner will also provide food, beverage and retail services at Trunk Bay where the beach and underwater snorkeling trail provide a breathtaking National Park experience for thousands visiting St. John,” Superintendent FitzGerald said in April.
Persons planning to submit a proposal who have obtained a prospectus from the website are recommended to advise Bill Stevens, Chief of Commercial Services, Southeast Region, NPS, AFC, 1924 Building, 100 Alabama Street, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30303 at (404) 507-5638 or e-mail at email@example.com of their interest so their contact information can be placed on a mailing list to receive future responses to questions or amendments to the prospectus.
Those receiving a hard copy or who are on the mailing list will be provided with any additional information specific to the prospectus in writing. The same information is posted to the above mentioned website.