2½M visitors needed to make cruise port viable

| 20/07/2017 | 84 Comments

(CNS): Cayman will need to attract between 2.3 and 2.5 million cruise passengers per year if the proposed cruise berthing facility in George Town is to be financially viable. The number comes from the latest, as yet unpublished, consultants’ report on how the controversial cruise port project can be financed. Such numbers, which represent a more than 45% increase over the figures for the last two years, are likely to push the local infrastructure and attractions to the limit.

Tour operators are already complaining about the pressure at Stingray City in particular. If the number of cruise visitors rose to the levels that the consultants found were needed for the passenger fees to cover the cost of the project, this could have a profoundly negative impact on the island.

In 2015, over 1,716,800 cruise passengers arrived in Cayman and last year the year-end figure was just over 1,711,800 — some of the best figures for more than a decade — but the numbers of visitors at times was the maximum that Grand Cayman can cope with. But in order to cover the financial costs, the island would need to see an increase of over 800,000 visitors, which raises questions about how the infrastructure and natural attractions would cope.

The development of piers will not change the seasonal element of cruise tourism, which means that this significant increase in passenger numbers would be concentrated in less than six months of the year.

While a number of tour operators and downtown merchants are still backing the project, there are many stakeholders in the tourism industry that are opposed. Others also have deep reservations because of the pressure such an increase in the number of cruise visitors coming to Cayman on mega ships could cause. Since the environmental impact assessment was first conducted on the PPM government’s plans, tourism stakeholders warned that the number of annual visitors needed to finance the project would be too high.

Balancing the experiences of overnight guests with accommodating cruise passengers has long been a concern for many of those involved in tourism.The need to increase passengers by such a significant amount is bound to upset that balance, leading to a possible decline in the overnight visitors.

Many believe that Cayman’s more popular attractions are over subscribed already and one tour operator told CNS this week that Stingray City is becoming “dangerous”.

Such an increase in passenger numbers would also see overcrowding on Seven Mile Beach. And given that a significant number of snorkelling and dive sites in the George Town area would be lost as a result of the construction of the port, the remaining underwater attractions would be subjected to further pressures, which local conservationists do not believe would be sustainable.

CNS reached out to the minister and chief officer for tourism last week for comment about how Cayman would cope with the increase in passenger numbers, but we have still not received a response.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Economy, Marine Environment, Politics

Comments (84)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a tourist that comes to your beautiful island for 10 days twice a year I can say if seven mile beach and Georgetown have 120,000 cruise ship people running around it will change why we come here. We love that no one is elbow to elbow along the beach and town is not crazy busy




    3



    0
  2. Anonymous says:

    cayman should market itself as a high quality, exclusive cruise destination with high quality tendering options……




    5



    0
    • Its me its really me says:

      We have heard the 2.3 to 2.5+ million tourist numbers time and time again. What’s up is this some sort of repetitive game with tax payers money being spent over and over again?.

      Enough is enough. Lets stop this madness. Lets build the darn thing, and let George Town sink and become unbearable and unmanageable when 10 to 15 thousand + come off the ships and tenders with our limited space to host any proper traffic flow and God forbid if there is an emergency our narrow streets filled with thousands will impede our ambulance and fire service unless they run over the visitors.

      Cant we just understand we cannot in the present location proposed handle any mass cruise tourism, even if you make the main thorough fare totally pedestrian, space is just limited. Knock down 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 commercial buildings, clear the rubble and create bathroom facilities, establish a tram car service and food tents and small cafes and gift shops along with the oligarch establishments and you might be able to handle 20% of the traffic , i.e. if the other 80% can be moved to attractions and coming back into town is staged on a scheduled basis.

      Other than that suggested above, its sheer madness to keep this movement going to save face. do some improvements in the limited space available, get/hire customer service staff who will be trained to assist/guide and marshall people around and out of town on tour buses and we might have an improved product without spending the 3oo or so million which an aging population will not pay and a younger population who will be increasingly challenged to be employed will definitely be unable to pay.

      Now how ya like me now?




      4



      1
  3. Anonymous says:

    how come we now have increasing record numbers of cruise visitors when pro-dock people said the industry will die without docks?




    6



    1
  4. Anonymous says:

    Regarding: “We simply don’t have the infrastructure to support this many visitors in GT harbor.” My wife and I have cruised to both Cosumel and Kings Wharf, Bermuda. Both sites have a number of smaller craft near the dock that offer passengers an immediate trip to other parts of their respective islands. GT harbour could offer transit by water to East End, Boddentown, or the like.

    By the way, we’ve also cruised to Nassau, St. Thomas, Road Town BVI, to both Ocho Rios and Falmouth Jamaica, Labadee, Haiti, Hualtuco, Mex, Cartagena, Columbia, Punta Renas, CR, Chiapas Mex, and Puerto Viarta, Mex. With the exception of Roadtown, BVI, Grand Cayman is superior as a cruise stop to any of them.




    2



    2
  5. Anonymous says:

    Most of the opposition against the dock comes from over seas and group that oppose all development.
    The real local voice is for the cruise berthing
    Don’t let the tree huggers fool you they protest anything and everything
    We either make progress or get left behind




    4



    21
  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s mind blowing that people forget about the hundreds of millions that come in annually through cruise tourism. Cayman is on the brink of a crime over run, if cruise goes down just wait and see what happens after that. Jamaica is freaking out over a couple of ships lost. Cayman keeps playing around with the cruise industry and soon they are going to leave us in the rear view mirror. That will be the day that you learn how important cruise is for locals.




    3



    16
  7. Anonymous says:

    I walk the streets with locals everyday and hear so much of them dying for jobs. Where do you think that is going to come from? The fancy hotels hate hiring locals. All the 600 jobs at kimpton went to foreigners. Cruise is what locals make money off of. Finance all the big money go to foreigners too.




    4



    15
  8. Anonymous says:

    We need parks. Theme parks, we need to bring back the Carnival, the air shows, the car shows…we lost our spark along the way. Maybe we could do a theme park with the same kind of feeling as Agriculture show, but have it everyday…our Caymanians can go out there and do thatch work, cook their Caymanian food at the stalls…sell fruits…come on Cayman…have more for families. Rollercoasters, rides, bumper cars…




    10



    12
  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s amazing how a couple of expats can make so much noise about this. Any Caymanian I know that works around tourism is all for the dock. We might not all agree on the exact shape or size but we all know that we need one. George town is the only logical place or we are going to have to spend billions to remake a new city.
    #Caymaniansforthedock




    15



    43
    • Anonymous says:

      You must be a Mckeeva voter. All the Caymanians I know are against the dock.




      28



      8
    • Anonymous says:

      I’m a Caymanian (of many generations) and I am NOT for a new dock that will require an additional three quarter of a million cruise visitors (all within a 6 month window) to fund it. Cayman is too small for those numbers!
      And building it will negatively impact our stay-over tourism guests…who spend far more per person per visit.




      32



      6
      • wirth says:

        Facts speak…if you receive 3 mega ships that’s a min.of 120k a week. A percentage will not disembark. Cruise passenger spend does not match hotel guests. Your choice….you have to understand the Cruise Lines will discontinue visiting without a dock. This is the real world. Someone has to decide.




        3



        2
      • Jim says:

        Right on.




        1



        0
    • Anonymous says:

      10:28 ‘Any Caymanian I know that works around tourism is all for the dock.’ Guess you don’t know many Caymanians who work in tourism then?




      11



      15
    • Anonymous says:

      Can you actually read? Which bit doesn’t make sense? George Town is a mess if there are more than 3 ships in and lets face it, it is not exactly the prettiest place on the planet…this needs a holistic approach with more things to do for tourists and limits put on the numbers at certain attraction to make sure they remain attractions.




      11



      3
  10. Anonymous says:

    While our previous politicians fiddled and scratched their heads for the last ten years at least three other Caribbean states built new cruise docks and the hope of us getting one burned. Use the money for something that will pay back to the people and demonstrate to the world we are progressing in positive direction. This initiative is dead and should be well buried.




    20



    6
    • Anonymous says:

      Build a better and longer runway and bring the stay over tourists in from Europe, West coast US and Canada…much more value, more hotel jobs and much more sense. And put meters in the damn taxis who are ruining first impressions of Cayman! If Bermuda can do it, we can!




      16



      3
      • Anonymous says:

        I have been in tourism for 40 years and Europeans don’t tip. How will it help local people ?




        2



        3
        • Anonymous says:

          They don’t tip but they pay. Tipping is an american form of cheap labour. If a business is run correctly you can pay your staff a decent wage so they do not need tips.




          3



          1
    • Jim says:

      We are presently coming to the same realization in Bar Harbor Maine. The cruise ship industry is having serious negative impacts on our island. Air, water and visual pollution along with the mobbing of our popular tourist spots. All for tour bus rides and cheap souvenirs. Do not believe in any of those input output economic studies supplied to you by that industry. They pull that stunt everywhere they go. Get rid of them if you can. Do not lose control through the creation of a Port Authority!




      2



      0
      • annemariequin says:

        Read the books and articles of Dr. Ross Klein, Professor of Sociology at Memorial University in Saint John’s, Newfoundland. He has spent much of his professional career studying the cruise ship industry.




        0



        0
  11. Anonymous says:

    It’s sad but, day by day the truth is never more clear about the sheer incompetence surrounding the Cayman Islands Government.




    25



    24
  12. AlanP says:

    How about 60,000 people who live in this country? They need to be able to enjoy their lives.




    38



    3
    • Anonymous says:

      Soon to be a lot more. These are all numbers that mean a lot more money to everyone …the footfall tax alone from each passenger could be used to prop up the money disappearing out the health and pension funds.




      0



      0
  13. Anonymous says:

    In plain English – it’s not doable!




    44



    26
  14. Anonymous says:

    As usual more fake news for you are not reporting the correct and whole story behind the financial viability of the new dock. Firstly it is not $300m and secondly the original financial modeling was carried out on the basis that CIG retained the head tax on 1.6m passengers and the dock was definitely financially viable at cruise passenger numbers of 1.6m to 1.85 to 2.0m. You simply forget to consider that the existing tendering cost of $5.50/head + an additional fee becomes new public sector earnings for a berthing fee for all vessels using the new piers. The financial viability of the new dock is excellent, so when are we ever going to read some positive and constructive and supportive news for the country from this publication.




    33



    28
    • TRANSPARENCY INTL says:

      Well the government should be happy to share the information and all relevant details. Their failure to do so speaks volumes and demonstrates it is the government who are misrepresenting the facts by painting a rosy picture.

      So 10.54am What do they fear besides public scrutiny and transparency?




      27



      18
      • Anonymous says:

        Since when does any company or organisation reveal all the details of negotiations while they are ongoing? Patience is a virtue. Give the government time to work out the best deal for the Country.




        4



        5
        • wawa says:

          any day that a passenger ship is not in George town, take a walk around.
          you talk about a dead ghost town. the day that the cruise industry leave cayman we are DEAD. DEAD.BUILD THE DOCK.
          mr Wilber took a chance,

          who the hell is Wilbert? ha, ha ,ha




          5



          5
      • Jim says:

        CLIA and their economic impact statements are so far off. Nobody takes the effort to analyse those headline grabbing numbers. They are totaly off base and speak nothing of the net profit for your town.
        Cruise Ships Caveat Emptor




        1



        0
        • Anonymous says:

          We are having this same debate in Bar Harbor Maine. We have all the land base tourism we need yet a very few businesses want more at all costs.
          “The acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder” Orwell, Inside the Whale




          0



          0
    • Anonymous says:

      Is that you Mr. Kirkconnell?




      18



      6
  15. Anonymous says:

    Something they forget to add in is that Cayman has no idea how much the crew could really spend in all the bars and restaurants. Hardly any can leave the ship when they come here because they have to keep the engines running, ship fully staffed and keep up at anchr. In other ports the crew spends as much as the tourists. Lots of money for the country being lost every day.




    42



    28
    • Anonymous says:

      Build it and they will come.




      27



      25
    • Anonymous says:

      That comment 9:22 is hilarious! Crew is not going to spend money here, when they can get the same thing in every other destination on their itinerary, as well as home. What they may do is come for Free WiFi… I doubt if the Captain and important crew to keep the ship running are going to run to the bars and drink.




      28



      22
      • Anonymous says:

        The crew do not get off the boat here in Bar Harbor. Our visiting crews ships only stay here at anchor for 10 hours.




        0



        0
  16. Facts says:

    Can’t believe people are still saying that nothing is happening with the dump.




    15



    12
  17. Anonymous says:

    Most ports charge higher docking fees than what I hear them projecting. It’s all about cost and revenue. You increase the revenue the payback is quicker and with less people needed. It’s really not a hard equation to solve. Premium Island, premium price. They recharge all the passengers for these anyway so no real cost to the cruise lines.




    39



    11
  18. Anonymous says:

    I would love to know how much has been spent on consultants reports over the last decade and…nothing has happened. Meanwhile at the dump….nothing has happened. Does anything ever actually happen? How do I become a consultant?




    37



    32
    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed, I work in town, have fir more than a decade, no one asked me, guess I have the wrong last name.




      24



      25
  19. matt fry says:

    we can easily afford it Mr Bush is on a trip now trying to win us the money….




    55



    9
  20. Anonymous says:

    This report is excellent. Now act on it. If it requires 2.5m visits a year to pay for a $300m dock, how much can you budget for a 1.8m passenger dock to break even. $50m? Great!!! That’s your budget now go and do a little value engineering and determine what a $50m dock would look like and where in the island it would be. For reference, Falmouth, Amber Cove, and Banana Walk all likely cost far less than $50m.




    17



    32
    • Anonymous says:

      Amber Cove, which is 25-acre resort not just a cruise dock, is reported to have cost $85 milion and currently handles around 800K visitors a year.

      The problem with the GT plans is very simple – everyone and their extended families will want a cut. By the time you factor in the waste, kickbacks and just plain theft any government-backed project like this is always going to cost three or four times more than the private sector would pay for it.




      20



      9
  21. Anonymous says:

    Wow the danger of this and the danger of that? Blow me timbers!! Could we not just start feeding in another area or two and have 3-4 stingray cities or are they endangered too? George Town is for “Tourism”. Why are so many vehicles driving downtown when they could take Eastern Avenue? Its never that busy throughout the day. Most of the tour bus drivers use it as a shortcut.
    Crime will continue to rise until you teach 11-12 th graders to prepare with Math and English and drop the Patois when working or looking for a job in Cayman. The Jamaicans speak good English when they are working.
    For the future Gov’t will have to allow development in the Central Mangrove it’s cheaper to developed large acreages. By the way if they WANT to protect it why don’t they buy it with the 40 million in reserve????




    35



    41
  22. Anonymous says:

    Think about this! Currently, the PEOPLE of the Cayman Islands do not pay one red cent to bring cruise passengers on this island. Not one penny. What happens, if the country gets stuck paying the bill or cruise tourism declines, due to any situation out of our hands. What then? Who is going to be there to pay for this berthing facility? Taxes my friends… Taxes from the people of the Cayman Islands, that is who!




    54



    39
    • Anonymous says:

      There’s also DART. Heck yeh, let’s have DART control our port too. Have we totally lost our minds in this country? Drop the cruise berthing idea, a lose -lose situation from the get go except for Moses..




      6



      2
    • Anonymous says:

      Who is going to pay for the new public schools ? They’re failing.




      7



      0
  23. Anonymous says:

    Every other 2 bit island in the Caribbean has a cruise terminal or two. There is no real reason why Cayman should not have as well. The dropping of anchors in George Town over the last several hundred years has done more damage than a one time build of a proper cruise facility.




    55



    59
  24. Anonymous says:

    JUST DON’T DO IT




    68



    45
    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly! Agreed!

      C’mon folks 300 Million on a cruise port?

      How is this even being fiscally responsible?




      63



      39
  25. Anonymous says:

    Talk about taking the Govt “rosy projection” model to absurd levels.

    Hopefully the FFR will shut this down before the PPM and cronies drive the country’s finances over the drop off.

    Very bad idea!




    64



    33
  26. Anonymous says:

    The environment on and around your island is already negatively impacted, but not by tourists. The lack of oversight by the DOE and the neglect to halt inland destruction in order to build hotels is your problem. That’s on your government. And by the way, if you do not get a handle on the growing crime and the tension between locals and expats, a port will be the least of your concerns as your tourism will naturally decrease




    53



    27
    • Really ? says:

      Locals vs Expats or the other way around. Start by respecting the locals as you are only a guest with permission to work here ! Flights leaving everyday btw.




      31



      38
      • Yes, Really! says:

        “Really” It’s the same OLD EXCUSE EVERYDAY by some of the people like yourself, whether they are Caymanian, Jamaican, or whatever Nationality. You want to point the finger and deny the truth. “Respect the Locals” – GIVE ME A BREAK! You keep your head in the sand and then claim blatant ignorance. It’s never your fault! So quick to blame others. It’s an easy way out by saying “respect the locals” and there’s “flights leaving everyday” It’s seems to be the attitude such of yours that’s not realistic at all, it’s narrow-minded.
        You should hop on one of those flights, explore the world. Head on up to the US and get a different taste. You might be surprised. Really!




        21



        6
      • Yes, Really! says:

        The post say “Locals AND Expats” not “Locals VS Expats”. Clearly you’re looking for trouble. Bobo! Yet another problem the Caymanian Islands have: a Twist on Words!




        2



        2
  27. Anonymous says:

    The cruise port will be the death of the stingray city sandbar. Those poor stingrays are already exploited to the max!




    70



    22
    • Anonymous says:

      Another bad and expensive idea brought to you by Moses, Alden and the PPM government. They have learnt nothing from the Clifton Hunter project. Building more monolithic monuments to their egos and agendas of a select few merchants will push these islands to a third world existence while they enjoy their fat pensions and benefits.




      54



      16
      • C. David Mauss says:

        The other cruise companies will pay for it. They did in Jamaica and Labadee Haiti. The cruise ship dock is a great idea and will go in. I predict it will happen. The govt gets an amount for every person getting off a ship. What is hard to understand here. Dont be brainwashed by environmentalist wackos that dont want progress. More people getting off a ship will spend more money.
        This is a win win situation.




        3



        3
    • Anonymous says:

      Wha? Do you even have any idea what is going on? Are you even on this planet? The proposed dock is in Hogsty Bay. Complete other side of the Island. Maybe you are buddies with the Canadian girl who parks in other people’s spots, and is surprised that they hate her a$$.




      9



      17
      • Anonymous says:

        The poster is talking about StingRay City overcrowded with cruise passengers, dufus. Defensive much?




        12



        2
      • Jotnar says:

        Well if the 2.3 million tourists stayed in Hogsty bay you may have a point, but a large percentage of them are going to want to go and handle are 100 odd stingrays – which was the OPs point. And you reference to some Canadian bad parker is completely off the wall – are YOU on the same planet?




        8



        2
  28. Anonymous says:

    We simply don’t have the infrastructure to support this many visitors in GT harbor. Residents will be stuck in traffic trying to get to work until 11am with that much congestion in town!!

    Forget the stupid cruise port and fix the dump!




    89



    20

Please include your email address in the form below if you are using your real name. You can use a pseudonym, with or without leaving an email address, or just leave the form blank to be "Anonymous". All comments will be moderated before they are published. Please read the CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.