CITA keeps tourism ‘concerns’ under wraps

| 24/01/2018 | 55 Comments

(CNS): Cayman Islands Tourism Association directors met with government officials recently to talk about the “perspectives and concerns” of the tourism sector, according to a CITA release, though it did not detailed what those concerns are. CITA said its directors discussed “the airport expansion and operations, cruise berthing, taxi regulations, visitor safety, education and employment of Caymanians in tourism, the use and maintenance of public docks and beaches, and challenges unique to the Sister Islands”, but gave no indication what its members are worried about or what the ministry said it would do to alleviate these unspecified concerns.

CITA President Theresa Leacock-Broderick said they were “very encouraged” by Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell’s “receptiveness to our insights and recommendations and his thorough understanding of the issues”. She said that Kirkconnell “is not shying away from any of the challenges and has facilitated our direct dialogue with other relevant government officials”. However, she avoided detailing what the dialogue was really about, though she said there was  a “spirit of communication and collaboration”.

Deputy Premier Kirkconnell, who recently boasted about the great success of the overnight tourism sector last year, also dodged explaining what may be troubling the private sector members of the tourism industry. He said he “values and supports collaboration with private sector partners and welcomes opportunities to meet with members… to address common goals and resolve challenges”.

Kirkconnell said he was keen to ensure that benefits derived from the industry’s growth positively impact businesses, stakeholders and the community at large.

There remain some divergent views in the tourism sector, which touches on a wide cross-section of the local economy. Some of the main problems reported to CNS by those working in the sector are the issue of very low wages and the exploitation of both local and expatriate workers. The industry is also divided over the development of the cruise port.

While some tour operators and downtown retailers are keen to see the costly and controversial project get off the ground, many others, such as those from the dive sector and restaurant and bar owners, are more concerned about the environmental damage and the impact on the local infrastructure and attractions, putting at risk the welcome growth in overnight tourism.

The government’s plans to press ahead with the cruise berthing project appear to be moving slowly, but Premier Alden McLaughlin has reaffirmed its commitment to the proposal to construct two piers in the George Town Harbour.

In his most recent public statement, he said that his government was “committed to delivering the cruise berthing and expanded cargo pier needed to safeguard the businesses and jobs that rely on the continued flow of visitors and goods to Grand Cayman”.

Over recent months government has been pivoting towards the need to redevelop the cargo facility as much as the need for piers, but the detail and shape of the financing model for this project remains a mystery. McLaughlin said that the ongoing work currently “includes discussions with cruise companies on the financing model”.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (55)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We have vacationed in Cayman since 1992. Cayman has always been expensive (flights, logging and food) relative to other islands. We have always been happy to pay the premium because of the safety and friendliness of the people. When that is gone so are we. We are getting very close. Sorry.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    On Cayman Brac there have been many complaints about the seemingly random and new policies put in place for renting private homes to tourists. I know of three individuals who bought land intending to build homes for the tourist sector but have changed their minds due to conversations with people who already do so. One owner was told he had to move the washing machine out of the very large bathroom. This was previously approved and there is no where to move it. So he will no longer rent it out; a house occupied 47 weeks of the year on average. Another owner was told to paint over the natural knots in her wooden ceiling. More horror stories about the rudeness as well….

  3. Anon says:

    Frankly, if I did not have family ties in the Cayman islands I would not ever travel there.
    Florida and the gulf states have very nice winter weather, lower prices, and better trained safety personnel.

    As for most Carribbean islands other than Cayman, Nassau and maybe the VI – Forget it! I can easily drive to a distressed area of a Florida town and get much the same experience: run down buildings, poorly maintained streets, barred windows, trash everywhere, menacing looking Youts lounging around. Why pay anything to experience that? When I can stroll around Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, or Park Avenue in Winter Park, or swim in a pristine Florida spring?

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  4. Tur Alors! says:

    We are all concerned about drugs and guns, but how exactly are our cruise ship visitors searched on entry, if at all?. Some days we have 5 or 6 mega cruise ships disgorging 15, 000 or more passengers within a few hours and it would take an army of customs officers to process these numbers.How often has a passenger or crewman been arrested for illegal importation?.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Last time I was on a cruise, there were metal detectors at the entry point…not sure if they all do that, but suspect it is a requirement

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  5. sabotage says:

    They think crime is bad wait till alden and Mckeeva unity gowerment done with their magic number 100,000 population and with 75 more police which is the clearest indicator that they our so called leaders expect or anticipate an increase or more crime. Shame on you those who will make Caymanians a minority on their own island

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    • Anonymous says:

      The crazy 100,000 Alden, Mac, Moses and Juju population is coming…..unless we rise up and stop their madness.

      Will you fight against them or will you be bought for cheap?

      Watch this space.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Drop the hotel prices- it’s ridiculous what the rates and airfare now cost. Many other places have a beach where the dollar goes further. Many other places have good weather and diving. Not much to do at night except drink or eat , either.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We need to also disclose the 10% CIG tax, the10% hotel staff gratuity, and any other daily resort charges. People save up all year for a vacation only to find out at check-in (in a territory famous for no taxes) that it’s 25% more than their budget…oh, and we don’t take AMEX, hope you have another card!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        US citizens are used to that, the price is never what it says on the tag, always add taxes…however I agree, it is deceptive…price should include everything.

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        • Anonymous says:

          It is not just Americans that travel to Cayman. If you really want to get fussy think of Canadians who travel to Cayman, their dollar is at least 40% less than CI.

          The Cayman Islands are pricing themselves out of many markets. They may be getting lucky this year due to the catastrophic damage from the hurricanes on other islands; however, it is exceptionally short sighted to think such a windfall will last indefinitely.

          The DoT needs to up their game if they wish to capitalize on this influx of visitors that they would normally lose to other islands. So far, it is business as usual. The brand stagnating while the island is over run with ugly tunnels, concrete, eye sores that block the ocean, and crime.

    • Anonymous says:

      If I were you I would go there. We looking for rich people who spend money and the hotels are full

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Maybe CITA members could consider better wages for their staff. Some of them end up with less than 40$ a day.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if CITA brought up the strip club that is rumored to be opening in the West Shore plaza? When Cayman operates as a family friendly destination and there are shootings, robberies, and any number of UNCaymankind things going on, I would think a strip club on the SMB strip would be quite a topic? This is no longer the island that people are used to flocking to multiple times a year or even once a year.

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    • Anon says:

      As for WS 1. A year and ahalf on the three end units remain closed. 2. As for a strip club – that would complete the ruin of the complex and increase crime. Not sure who is watching those cameras currently … 3. The smell from the cigar shop pushes families and non smokers out. 4. The white roof above the tropical restaurant is black from soot. 5. parking at an angle would be an improvement. 6. Something child friendly would be great. Authentic Cayman food on 7MB…well now that is a dream. Just my thoughts.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Which one?!?

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    • Anonymous says:

      The strip club sounds a fabulous idea. I blow so much in strip clubs every time I go to Miami. I’d much rather assist the local economy.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, but are they going to be hiring Caymanians? Also, just a question, if they can’t find local talent, what will the code be on the work permits for the people, men AND women I assume (PC and all…), working the poles?

    • Anonymous says:

      spread the word more people will come. Now we just need to add gambling

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I got laughed at two weeks ago when I said hotel prices are now double and triple in GC and I can not justify the price. I realize it is due to supply and demand with the other islands in hurricane repair mode, but the prices are outrageous!
    Crime is also increasing and needs to be brought under control.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Crime is your main issue. The amount of condo burglaries is out of hand. Not only does it deter tourists but investment also. I recently spoke with owners of a complex who are so fed up with break ins, attempted break ins and lack of convictions that they are selling out at a loss. Not good for cayman. Things continue on this downward trend and property prices will follow. May take a while but it will happen.

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  11. Local Breed says:

    Whats the big secret sounds like some people are afraid to tell our imported help about how they are destroying the Cayman Brand because if was Caymanians it would be loud and clear or done by public declaration and shaming, but alas CITA is complaining in secret so they dont offend their little tourism angels who are here for us according to some. The truth be told some tourist are dying to here things Caymanian and not about big city bull$#@! or politics .

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Sweep it under rug, eh boys!? Move along, nothing to see here.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Jamaica has cruise berthing facilities all over the Island, but because of crime escalation there y safety of passengers…carnival cruise line has completely pulled out? dont you see same thing happening here?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    You need to put a cap on these hotel rates without a doubt! Cayman is amongst the highest in the Caribbean. This is why tourists from your mother country don’t visit. You’d have a lot more from the UK if you cut your prices in comparison to Cuba, Jamaica even Barbados. We pay much higher income taxes than the U.S. Plus the air fares are extortionate without you adding these high prices. It’s a shame because as an ex resident I have bragged these islands to everyone i know in the UK as the Caribbean island to visit. I get the same response……….far too expensive!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      For what is a very poor quality venue compared to the rest of the region.

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    • Anonymous says:

      British Airways has a criminal monopoly on direct flights from the UK and Europe. This must stop and more must be done to encourage other European airlines to come here.
      We also need affordable, not cheap, alternatives to the growing number of 5 star hotels and resorts. Without the middle classes and their disposable income tourism is doomed. Don’t rely on the rich, they don’t spend.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Family friends visited for Christmas traveling on BA direct flight. They were astonished when the plane virtually emptied at the Nassau stopover

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  15. A.E. Hudson says:

    I vacationed in the Cayman Islands the first time in 1986. I keep going back because I like the people there. I have also vacationed in Mexico, the Bahamas, Jamaica and once in Cuba. I am concerned about the increase of crime in Grand Cayman. My wife and I do not feel safe when we go out in the evenings. I read the news from different places and am aware that there is no place with zero crime, but Grand Cayman is getting too risky. If I could speak Spanish I would do all my future vacationing in Cuba!

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    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t need to speak Spanish to vacation in Cuba. With the huge increase in tourism from the UK, Europe and Canada everyone working in hospitality speaks some English and many of them have better language skills than the ex-pats here. Personally, as a tourist I’d take Cuba over Grand Cayman any day of the week.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Similar story here. My family and I have been coming to the island twice a year for almost 15 years. I absolutely love Grand Cayman, its people. culture and of course Diving. However, the shift in crime and ‘thug life’ is noticeable. I still believe we are mostly safe but I’m concerned it will spiral out of control. I hope not! If the island becomes recognized as unsafe (like Jamaica has been for years now), there’s no turning back.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t “feel safe” here anymore? Lol. Ridiculous. Cayman isn’t half as dangerous as literally anywhere else in the world and you “don’t feel safe” here? LMAO by all means go to Cuba, Honduras or Jamaica and go out by yourselves at night, tell me how much you didn’t get held at gun point. Smh

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      • Anonymous says:

        8.51 complacency at its worst…need a parachute for when you fall off that high horse? Perception is everything.

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      • A. E. Hudson says:

        Yes, Mr. Anonymous, perhaps you are right. I will take my next vacation in Cuba, and you can laugh out loud and laugh your ass off and shake your head as much as you wish.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The philosophy of more is better does not always hold true then you overburden the country’s infrastructure at the cost of quality of life for residents. There is the point of diminishing returns that that awareness seems missing in this country.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    The electorate of the Cayman Islands did not vote in the PPM/CDP that slithered and backstabbed their way to the levers in the days after the May 2017 Election. Neither of those parties received a decisive mandate from the people. We did not vote for the Port, or any of the other vestiges of outgoing PPM policy. If anything, the opposite – the people voted for new blood, and specifically, non-party aligned candidates and ideas and processes untainted by chronic cronyism and opacity.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dude, given that no group got a majority int he election – as you say – you cannot then claim that a majority voted unaligned, i.e., for a cabal of independents.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if anyone recognizes the threat that over development poses. We are about to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

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    • West bay Premier says:

      11:55 am, I agree that CITA finally see that the golden egg is about to be broken .
      But I also think that they finally see the crime problems , that’s why they aren’t saying what they are talking to Government about .

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      • Anonymous says:

        Does anyone ever stop to think that CITA members are a piece of the problem in Cayman?

        Why does CITA exist?

        Why are there closed door meetings that push the agenda and concerns of a group that pay to play?

        What about the concerns of the other tourism people who are just getting by and can’t afford or are denied membership to CITA.

        CITA state your business please. You already look like an old boys club.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if CITA would include the excessive hotel rates in their list of concerns? Probably not. I work in the tourism sector and have had numerous complaints from my clients about the cost of hotel accommodation.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And yet the hotels were full during peak holiday dates.
      It’s economics, if they can fill the rooms at the high rates why would they lower them?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Well, don’t forget that the hurricanes did move tourists from other places to here.

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      • Anonymous says:

        11:40 They may be full during the very limited peak holiday periods but the rest of the year they’re struggling. Even during Pirates Week some of the hotels were being forced to offer heavily discounted room rates online.

        It’s also not just the room rates but also food and drinks prices. I use the Hilton chain extensively in the USA and it’s way cheaper to stay in most of their hotels than even the basic motel-level accommodation on offer here.

        Another thing that really hurts the hotels in the Cayman Islands is the hidden extras. You start off with a pretty outrageous room rate then get hit for 13% tax, 10% service charge and an electricity fee. That is certainly what killed interest in these islands from the UK and Europe, and I’m damn sure it’s now impacting the Canadian market.

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        • Anonymous says:

          No, they are not…I know a few senior hotel staff at varying hotels and even in the slow season they say they were above 80% occupancy and in some cases completely full…People will pay if they think we are safe..that needs to be addressed.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Sounds like fake it til ya make it… have you been to Camana Bay in an afternoon lately? You can roll a bowling ball through the place and not hit a soul.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yet tourist numbers continue apace , especially air arrivals as a recent story illustrates. You have a brutal winter up north driving the snowbirds south . The eastern islands affected by the 2017 hurricane impacts may be a large player in these figures , combined with various announcements of crime affecting other islands. U.S origin travellers wont travel to destinations of potential crime threat . Lets hope Cayman does not get a future impact on its tourism as a result. But the hotel rates are somewhat among the highest in the region for a reason , it isn’t cheap doing business in this area .

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    • Anonymous says:

      That is the problem of marketing to fly-over state middle management. They tend to talk big but act cheap.

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