Plan warns climate change poses tourism risk

| 07/02/2020 | 35 Comments
Cayman News Service
Beach erosion at Boggy Sand

(CNS): The National Tourism Management Plan (NTMP), which was unveiled by Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell last week, makes it clear that climate change poses a serious risk to the tourism sector. The NTMP, which is designed to guide tourism development until 2023, points to a list of things government needs to do to mitigate its impact, none of which have actually been adopted. There is little sign that any of the major changes needed are likely to be implemented by government before the life of the plan expires.

The NTMP highlights the challenges of sea level rise, increased storm activity, flooding, coral bleaching and beach erosion all taking their toll on Cayman, which is significantly dependent on the quality of its beach and marine environment.

The plan goes into considerable detail about the threats and risks, and outlines some of the measures government should take to tackle the challenges. Quoting from the government’s own outdated, decade-old draft climate policy, the NTMP indicates what needs to be done but makes no comment on the fact none of it has been done or that it is unlikely, even impossible, that any of the protections will take effect before 2023.

Government is a long way from adopting any significant measures to mitigate climate change, such as legislation to ensure new tourism developments have climate mitigation measures in place, and mapping and identifying high risk locations.

While the NTMP calls for a law to stop development that does not mitigate against climate change, the public has seen the Central Planning Authority, month after month, rubber stamp tourism related projects and coastal development with a complete lack of climate change protection.

More often than not, plans are approved that will aggravate the situation. Despite repeated warnings from the Department of Environment, the constant approval of the removal of mangrove buffer and the waiving of important setbacks, the ambitions of the tourism plan are a far cry from the reality of the situation.

Even the tourism department, itself, has supported the approval of tourism projects before the CPA that pose a serious risk to the environment and add to the climate change challenge.

Government is currently contemplating a coastal works application for a complex and damaging engineering project by the Marriott hotel owners and several neighboring condo strata to tackle the major beach erosion at the north end of Seven Mile Beach. Cabinet has not yet made a decision on the proposal, despite its damaging implications.

The DoE has urged government to reject the proposal. Based on their own expertise and experience as well as the findings of an independent coastal engineering review, the department supports the idea of a beach replenishment project. The tourism plan also calls for this type of mitigation measure at all the sites where beach erosion is becoming a major threat to tourism, such as Boggy Sands.

This current application by the Marriott presents Cabinet with the perfect opportunity to do the right thing and begin its climate change mitigation measures by following the recommendations of both the DoE and this new tourism plan.

Government is well aware of the dangers posed by climate change to the economy and environment but has been desperately slow to react. However, the tourism plan puts government in a bind of its own making, leaving it less than four years to implement measures that will, in some cases, take decades to have an impact.

Switching from the type tourism development model Cayman has followed for the last 30 years, with excessive development of the coast and the massive removal of coastal protections like mangroves, to genuine sustainable development will not be easy and there is no real signs it is happening.

While the NTMP outlines clearly the threats and points to the solutions, in reality the odds of the commitments government makes in the plan coming to fruition do not look good.

Earlier this week CNS contacted the Department of Tourism requesting an electronic version of the NTDP, which was unveiled over a week ago. Although we received no response, by continuing to check all possible locations where government may have posted it, we were able to find a copy today.

See that copy in the CNS Library

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Category: Business, Climate Change, Policy, Politics, Science & Nature, Tourism

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Marriotts issues have nothing to do with climate change and everyone knows that. They were caused by a sea wall. Stop making everything climate change. It’s ignorant and undermines proper debate.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great headline. Too funny.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Top Files – When Cruises Go Wrong:

    Please watch if you’re still hell bent on accommodating cruise ships in our harbor.

    Very few companies make it this blatantly obvious that they do not care about anything further than lining their own pockets.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A bespoke, high value-added experience with premium spending but a lower head count (a more eco friendly demand), or a high volume, low margin, dollar discount mass trotting through the flora and fauna fresh off the cruise ship. Decide what you want to be Cayman. Is it a premium brand or a dollar discount offering. Then do it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Listen, the Bible says we need a dock
    John 6:21
    “So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going”

    You see anything about tendering in there? Build the damn dock!

    • Teena says:

      You are being sarcastic, right? That is hilarious.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, it says in the Old Testament quote they shall bring them on boats to the land and feed them unquote. So that means tendering is the way to go and restaurants are ready here.


    • Anonymous says:

      The Bible is referring to TENDERS fool!

      If the Bible wanted a Cruise Ship Dock it would have said, “They received him into the ship, NOT boat.



    • Anonymous says:

      Yes misquote the bible to validate your argument. If you know anything at all about the Middle East, 99% of the time they would usually put their boats on the sand during that time period.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Nothing sacred about them cows! Just deal with them next election!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Another plan!

  8. Anonymous says:

    A no confidence vote should be called on the whole government. Never has any other government been so corrupt and heedless of the peoples wishes.

    • johnny says:

      Not to mention the Climate
      changes all the time and there is no proof at all that CO2 and man have ANYthing to do with it. Research yourself…where is the proof and do not tell me about 97 percent of scientists agree, since it is only those who are paid to do climate change studies!

  9. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  10. Anonymous says:

    the CPA should be ashamed

  11. Anonymous says:

    Stop the building of this dock, or face the wrath of the changing climate.

    -The Scientists

  12. Anonymous says:

    It is obvious that the proposed berthing dock is a huge mistake for the future of the Cayman Islands. I have to ask a very large “WHY?” is it being pushed so hard. I thought our elected MLA’s were elected to protect the future of the islands and not the future of their purses.

  13. Anonymous says:


    Government should just shelve the proposal it is abundantly clear now how incredibly detrimental it will be in the long term to Cayman.

    I wonder who is getting their pockets lined to have to push this so heavily.

  14. Who Dares Wins says:

    Moses Kirkconnell, the Ministry of Tourism and the Cabinet continue to ignore the findings in its own NTMP.

    This is pure madness and further evidence that the Auditor General, The Governor’s Office and FCO must take immediate steps to look into the proposed cruise berthing project at every level. What will it take for transparency to become the norm in that Caymans? Why is Moses Kirkonnell, Alden McLaughlin, Joey Hew McKeeva Bush and the UNITY government treated like sacred cows?

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