Construction period could kill cruise business

| 04/02/2019 | 71 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise ships in the George Town Harbour

(CNS): The opposition leader has called on government to explain to the public how, if it continues on the unpopular path of pursuing plans to develop a cruise berthing facility in George Town, it intends to manage cruise ship arrivals during construction. Ezzard Miller said he remains absolutely opposed to the risky, costly and totally unnecessary project but he has also warned that, given what appears to be a lack of any contingency plans for the two or three year period of construction, this development has the potential to kill the business that Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell keeps insisting he is trying to save.

Miller said mismanagement could result in cruise ships deciding to bypass Cayman completely, undermining, if not killing, the sector for years.

“While the opposition remains opposed to the project and does not believe it will become a reality, the lack of information on the interim management for the disembarking and re-boarding of cruise passengers is definitely another big concern, joining all the others, including costs and environmental and business impacts,” Miller said in a press statement.

Miller and his team expect that the petition for a referendum will collect the required number of signatures and firmly believe that opposition to the port project will win when the referendum is put to the vote. However, the opposition leader queried why, if government still thinks the project is going ahead, it has failed to communicate what it plans to do when the work gets underway, given how the protracted construction period could add to the long list of problems presented by this controversial project.

“Government has said nothing about how they plan to mitigate the impact of the dredging and complex construction activities for the proposed cruise ship port on the disembarkation, processing and return of passengers to ships, as well as passengers’ ease of access to landside recreational arrangements,” Miller said.

“How that management aspect, that could have markedly adverse impacts on the future of the industry, will be addressed has to be a concern for the industry and the population as a whole and should be addressed. At the very least, we need an explanation by government on how the disembarkation and re-boarding of passengers will be handled over the two to three years of works — if the project sees the light of day,” he added.

The statistics from the Department of Tourism summarising arrival figures for last year showed another bumper year for overnight tourism as well as significant growth in cruise ship passenger arrivals, raising the question of how government plans to manage the existing cruise business if it ever embarks on this project.

Following a year when over almost two million people came ashore by cruise ship tenders, Miller refuted the key argument advanced for the necessity for the port, that tendering is not feasible for the disembarking and re-boarding of passengers, especially for the larger ships.

“It is clear that cruise passengers continue to be successfully tendered, an arrangement that will apply when one of the largest cruise ships in the world, the 5000-plus-passenger mega ship MSC Cruise Line’s the MSC Meraviglia, anchors in Cayman waters in December as scheduled,” the opposition leader pointed out.

“The trend of the increasing numbers of cruise ship passenger arrivals and the tendering of the mammoth Oasis-class ship later this year undermine government’s argument that tendering poses an overwhelming threat to the continued well-being of the cruise industry.”

Claims that dockside disembarkation of cruise passengers is more efficient than ferrying passengers by tender was also undermined by the 11 August 2015 Environmental Assessment Board’s review of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) by the consultants commissioned by the government, W. F. Baird and Associates.

The EIA had considered two scenarios for disembarkation rates: one with four Carnival Magic-sized vessels at berth and a second with two Carnival Magic-sized vessels and two Oasis-sized vessels at berth

The EIA concluded “that for both of these scenarios, the disembarkation rates with cruise berthing facility is within the range of passenger-disembarkation rates achieved with tendering, i.e. cruise berthing will not result in a quicker rate of disembarkation”.

The EIA also found passengers disembarking at berth would have longer walking distances, ranging “from approximately 1,200 to 1,800 feet, as compared to approximately 450 feet with existing tender operation”.

Another disadvantage from cruise berthing identified by the EIA is the “lag time which can result from the berthing of cruise ships”.

Miller said it was important to protect the cruise sector as well as the stay-over visitor sector, but he was concerned that scarce investment resources should be placed where the returns would be of greatest value to the people of the Cayman Islands.

“Berthing will not add any additional time on shore but could actually reduce shore time, which is mainly what cruise passengers care most about,” the leader of the opposition stated.

Miller also challenged the business case for such a massive investment in the cruise port, as these latest statistics show revenue from stay-over passengers still exceeding by far the cruise spend. He noted that the latest estimate of cruise passengers’ annual spending is US$199.9 million, compared to US$680 million for stay-over visitors, a ratio of more than one to three.

“There is no question that we do want to protect the cruise industry,” Miller said, but he pointed out that the lack of any construction contingency plan could result in cruise ships deciding to reroute.

“It would be really ironic that the costliest investment resulted in the gravest of consequences,” he noted.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , ,

Category: Business, development, Local News, Tourism

Comments (71)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    The north and south terminals are way calmer than royal watler and hardly utilized. We will be fine and can handle almost as many ships. Just make sure its the cheaper ones that we turn away and not the good ones like Disney, royal celebrity, Holland and Norwegian. Forget Carnival.

  2. Buggle says:

    Video was meant to kill the radio star.

    6
    5
    • Anonymous says:

      Would government not have a concept of what they want the port to look like?

      Would they not have had input from their own engineers on what is feasible, in order to seek a contract to get it done?

      Would the Government not similarly explored what sort of interim arrangements should be in place in the two to three years of works to keep the industry afloat?

      If so, what is so “inappropriate” about the Government saying that it does have a good plan in mind, rather than saying they are leaving it up to the contractor to propose one?

      What people such as the Leader of the Opposition among others are concerned about is the cavalier lack of forward planning.

      We don’t want this left up to the company that wins this lucrative bid—as they start cutting corners, etc. , etc. We want to know that the Government is engaged and cautious and ensuring proper mitigation will be in place.

      In other words, we want to be assured that the waterfront will not be transformed into chaos.

      Is that asking too much of the people who were elected to ensure the economy is protected to find a way to reassure us?

      7
      1
  3. Anonymous says:

    cayman needs to concentrate on stay -over tourism.
    cayman should market itself as an exclusive cruise ship destination with world class tendering services

    55
    8
  4. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes you have to prune the tree to get it to grow the right way

    10
    28
  5. Anonymous says:

    On the lighter side, if the cruise industry tumbles, the DoT needs to bolster the stay overs to take advantage of the less crowded beaches and safer roads due to a-hole maniac driving tour buses running you off the road for a buck.

    33
    • Anonymous says:

      MoT and DoT have had negligible impact on the macro-economic and lifestyle factors driving international travel over the last 20 years. Handing out free ice cream on one corner of NYC, or putting Sponge Bob on your planes, or suggesting there is something called Caymankind, are all marketing failures, though I’m sure they’d beg to disagree.

      3
      1
      • Anonymous says:

        I never said anything about a Caymankind Sponge Bob handing out ice cream in NYC. I’m just saying that in the event the building of the pier cripples the cruise industry that they should push out more campaigns on vacationing in Cayman whether it’s tv or internet and focus on stay overs to bolster that area of the market.

        2
        2
  6. Anonymous says:

    Construction period could kill tourism* fixed the headline for you CNS.

    17
    1
    • Anonymous says:

      All the building is just about doing it in for me as a tourist. Really starting to not like the vibe on 7mb. Could go to Miami much cheaper and get the same view if it keeps up.

      32
      4
  7. Anonymous says:

    I think the Government is also looking at the head tax it collects not just what they spend. Could it be that they know that the financial industry is doomed and are looking at maximizing the income from tourism. I dont think anyone thinks that cruise tourism will completely dry up if we dont have a dock.

    19
    6
  8. Anonymous says:

    logical question #1 – if tendering is okay and working perfectly fine now, why would that be any different during construction?

    logical question #2 – if cruise passengers scare away the stay over visitors, why was last year the best year ever for stay overs, when the number of cruise passengers is also growing? I guess they aren’t that scared after all

    logical question #3 – is the contingency plan not part of what the final bidders are putting together – a plan for design, build, finance and maintain? If it is part of the procurement process, it is not yet determined. The Minister has described this until he is blue in the face.

    8
    30
    • Anonymous says:

      The public is owed an explanation before the contract is awarded. That is a huge part of enabling the Cayman public to know whether this project is worthy of their support or not. Or are you saying that the public’s concerns don’t matter?

      27
      2
  9. Anonymous says:

    No s***! Ezzard’s only just figured this out? I was posting comments about that problem a year ago and my experience is based on a city centre development in the UK that killed off a number of previously successful business because the 18-month project impacted access to the area so seriously.

    Get used to it – this a major project that once it kicks off will shut down large areas of GT and also have a very significant impact on traffic movement but nobody at CIG seems to have factored this in.

    Will cruise shippers put up with 2-3 years of being landed at Spotts? I somehow doubt it and if the passengers get p***ed off so will the cruise lines.

    More important what impact will it have on stayover visitors? As the saying goes, ‘We know you have a choice,’ and if they start voting with their feet because of this we’re in deep s***.

    43
    7
  10. Pear says:

    Ezzard for king of the world

    11
    11
  11. Anonymous says:

    Given the level of opposition for opposition’s sake to the Cruise terminal, I don’t blame CIG for keeping details confidential. This is mostly politricks and our opposition politicians have nothing better to do than to oppose anything and everything the current Government does. Always consider the source. God help us if Ezzard ever achieves his dream of becoming Premier.

    24
    66
    • Anonymous says:

      The job of the opposition is to oppose, hence why they are called the opposition. There will never a perfect plan that is put forth by the current administration and an opposing side will always be needed so that some of these money hungry leaches we call our leader will not have their way with what little we have left of our home.

      36
      6
      • Anonymous says:

        1:42 pm — yes, but don’t you want to know how the cruise port works will impact the cruise industry so you can make up your mind about whether this is a good thing or not?

        17
        1
      • Anonymous says:

        There is no plan, business case, agreed blueprint, nor a transparent bidding process. It’s all to be papered over in hindsight by whoever can best feather their retirement nests.

        11
        6
      • Anonymous says:

        Ezzard cant go to London as Premier!

        2
        4
    • SSM345 says:

      Thanks Kool-Aid drinker 12:22; go put your head back up the PPM’s arse.

      12
      6
  12. ppm Distress Signal says:

    Moses and Alden along with the cronies in government will sink this country. There are No plans or accountability for anything with this lot. There is no transparency just ruling based on arrogance, fear surrounded by weekly scandals and allegations of corruption. They have surpassed McKeeva’s UDP whom they criticized at every turn as the most untrustworthy government in our history. Everything is done in complete darkness to hide the side deals and looking out for the fortunate few that are pulling their strings.

    70
    14
    • Anonymous says:

      Sad, ain’t it!

      13
    • Common Sense is NOT common says:

      I do not understand why the Spots Dock is not developed instead.

      8
      6
      • Anonymous says:

        How do you expect the legacy waterfront merchants to corral tourists into their failing businesses if they build the dock anywhere but Hog Sty Bay?
        Why would we ever expect them to adapt their businesses to the evolving modern consumer, that is ridiculous
        Don’t you know they are entitled to government funded profits no matter the costs or damage to the environment and anyone who says otherwise is just an jealous, spiteful “crab in a bucket”

        6
        2
      • alaw says:

        you really want to know simple,
        the only time ships can use spots, is the days when they cant use town!
        check how many days that is for the year,besides I have to get into town early in the mornings.

        4
        1
    • Anonymous says:

      google what Government means!

      2
      1
  13. Brian Tomlinson says:

    Where will they store the explosives needed for dredging the rock bottom? On a barge next to the anchored cruise ships or on the fringe of town so they can be transported through the town traffic every day?

    71
    5
  14. Unison says:

    A Good Plan = Good for the country
    But you will always have fear-mongerers.
    Folk will always praise you and blame you!

    BUT YOU GOTTA MOVE FORWARD.

    You make a plan that will financially benefit local people, the private sector including small businesses in George Town. A plan that will make touristic experience, a beautiful, affordable, and cultural experience. A plan that will not destroy the essentials of having a good eco-system. A plan that is without fattening the pockets of politicians, shady deals, and possible corruption that benefits government or big names like Dart, Kirkonnels, Fosters, et cetera. Government must look out for the whole private sector, and be neutral!

    Then after you transparently declare your plans to the public, you STICK WITH CARRYING OUT THE GRAND PLAN! You go forward, and deal with concerns until you’re done. You don’t stop what you’re doing everytime there is a fear or concern – then … you will get nothing done if you do that!

    31
    70
    • Anonymous says:

      “You make a plan that will financially benefit local people, the private sector including small businesses in George Town. A plan that will make touristic experience, a beautiful, affordable, and cultural experience. A plan that will not destroy the essentials of having a good eco-system. A plan that is without fattening the pockets of politicians, shady deals, and possible corruption that benefits government or big names like Dart, Kirkonnels, Fosters, et cetera. Government must look out for the whole private sector, and be neutral!”

      Agreed. Still waiting on them to achieve this first step

      29
      9
      • Anonymous says:

        When you say ‘big names like Dart, Kirkonnels, Fosters, etc’ you just need to say “Dart”. He owns all of those same businesses! Check it out for yourself.

        16
        3
      • alaw says:

        if you people was to read from the book of Genesis until now you will see there was always the rich, and the poor, the haves, and the have- nots
        this will never change, will never go away!

        5
        3
    • A Concerned Cayman Citizen says:

      @ the 10:55 payed troll: The “Grand Plan” that you write about will be the biggest boondoggle ever dumped upon the people of Cayman! The people who get rich will be some politicians and their friends and relatives, plus a lot of foreigners! In the end, the alteration of the environment will destroy the diving industry! The Cayman Islands will become just another tourist trap for people conned by the travel agents. Is that what you want?? It isn’t what we want.

      32
      29
    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, sounds like a good plan. Pity that’s not what we have in this instance.

      19
      1
    • Anonymous says:

      Hey Unison,

      What you typed is great, I agree with what you posted EXCEPT the CIG has NOT done a single one of those things.

      17
  15. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry Ezard, once CHEC/Dart get things rolling no one will have any problems, Our leaders have there prepared script and are sticking to it.

    8
    26
  16. Anonymous says:

    When are we going to install the permanent moorings for cruise ships and super yachts that the late Paul Allen paid for? Did we ever order those? Do we have a package tracking number to chase up where those are? Why are all of the reef-damage cash settlements redacted from public scrutiny (like everything else)? Dive customers and industry, where are you?!?

    47
    3
    • Tom says:

      They already install for super private yacht mooring paid by Paul Allen.

      6
      2
      • Anonymous says:

        One single 30,000lb anchor, refurbished existing salvage property from Port Authority, dropped by DOE last Feb into a sandy patch at 40 feet for a cost of KYD$40,000 to West Indies Marine. Is there a bouy attached to it? Where are the other four that were promised? Vulcan Inc was rumored to have settled for 6 figures, but how do we confirm that when this regime deletes everything and reneges on their commitments in darkness?

    • Anonymous says:

      That requires foresight. Hence why hasn’t been done.

      7
      1
  17. Anonymous says:

    why can’t we just leave things as they are and stay with the tendering instead of messing up the West Bay Beach? which will happen sooner or later.
    The WB beach owners/residents must be concerned about erosion and the effect this will have on the beach and their properties.

    Are we better off with one day visitors (whom the merchants) claim don’t spend anything much or those who come here to invest and spend half the year or longer here.

    51
    7
    • Anonymous says:

      The same reason they are expanding the airport and want to elongate the runway.

      6
      9
      • WhaYaSay! says:

        @12:57pm; Airport is NOT the same as cruise port as the dollar figures showed (airport visitors=$688M, cruise visitors=$200M). Added bonus for airport visitors; there are LESS of them so the ecosystem can handle it. Even if we double the amount of airport visitors that would still be far less than the current number of cruise visitors.

        Let’s refocus on QUALITY vs QUANTITY!

        16
  18. Anonymous says:

    Cruise passengers love fried chicken.

    7
    12
  19. Anonymous says:

    The airport has been virtually rebuilt and planes still came in and out daily and tourism numbers were higher than ever. What makes you think the same won’t happen for the docks? Give it a rest cns. The spin on this story is a stretch even for you. but full marks for not missing an opportunity to stir the pot.

    CNS: You do understand that this news is about an official statement from the opposition and not generated by CNS, right?

    29
    32
    • land crab says:

      I believe the plan is to use extra chicken tenders sponsored by KFC.

      12
      1
    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous, you are as fool as they get. You seriously going after CNS for making an official news statement public?

      25
      1
    • Anonymous says:

      Nowhere in the oppositions statement did it say construction period could kill cruise business. That’s your interpretation exaggerated for effect.

      3
      4
      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, it did, 4:41 pm. Read the penultimate para of the story. Rerouting of criise ships over a two-to-three year construction period could kill the industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Another Macbot going after two of the most honest ladies in Cayman media.

      12
      2
  20. Anonymous says:

    Every place in the world they built a cruise dock, the tourism died and never returned.

    Also the climate changed right above them.

    30
    10
  21. Anonymous says:

    So desperate they up in KFC harassing people for signature now. No suh.

    8
    43
  22. Anonymous says:

    This has been obvious all along, for those of us that can envision the big picture, not only the big bucks of pocket stuffing.
    Cut off their nose…

    28
    2
  23. Anonymous says:

    What a chicken little!!

    5
    12
    • Anonymous says:

      I hope it doesn’t turn out to be ” killing the goose that laid the golden egg” Moses is as obsessed about this dock as the great orange one up north is over his wall! Both are fake news because there are short on details / data to support the necessity of either project. Pitiful is what they are!

      9
      2

You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.