Moses grapples with tourism rebuild

| 02/06/2020 | 122 Comments
Cayman News Service
The departure lounge at the Owen Roberts International Airport (file photo)

(CNS): Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell has said that his ministry is now working on a three-year plan to rebuild Cayman’s tourism sector after the devastating blow delivered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The domestic market is likely to be the only source of income for the hospitality industry for the remainder of this year, but Kirkconnell said the plan will guide Cayman as its borders gradually open to a changed world.

The Cayman Islands tourism sector was riding high just a few months ago, enjoying record high visitor arrivals that seemed unstoppable. But in a matter of weeks the industry was decimated by the need to close the country’s borders to protect the community from the pandemic.

Even after the borders open, the tourism market will be very different, with a full recovery a long way off as travelers worry about being exposed to the virus if they travel, coupled with the fact that vacations are unlikely to be a priority as the global economy hits the doldrums.

But the minister said in a release Tuesday that the recovery of the Cayman Islands tourism industry to a pillar of the economy is the highest priority.

“Following the extraordinary air arrivals milestone of the country welcoming 502,739 stay-over visitors in 2019, my ministry and I have been working diligently to create a strategic plan that will move the tourism industry forward into economic recovery,” Kirkconnell said.

According to the release, the Ministry and Department of Tourism (DoT) have been collaborating with key stakeholders in government and the tourism community to find solutions for what lies ahead. The DoT has conducted extensive stakeholder outreach and implemented programmes specific to industry needs in the early stages of this crisis. 

These include taking surveys, offering online PRIDE training, meetings with those owners and staff in the accommodation, dive and attractions business, as well as industry bodies like the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Public Transportation Board and Hotel Licensing Board.

A needs registry has been developed for Caymanian tourism employees, and information is being collected regularly by the DoT database. The development of sanitation guidelines for the tourism sector to safely welcome visitors back has also been an important element in the first steps towards recovery.

The outcomes of stakeholder collaboration combined with extensive market research are the pillars of COVID-19 Tourism Strategy, which will focus on readiness by developing the best methodologies to reactivate the tourism sector.

But until the borders can open, and that will not be before September and unlikely to be before the end of the year, the domestic market will play a key role in jolting the life back into the sector. Given that this will only represent a fraction of the industry, the ministry said it will be looking to help tourism businesses and employees adapt to a new way of operating.

Another important element will be an extensive global marketing and promotion of Cayman in preparation for the re-opening of borders and to make it clear the country is following best practice to protect visitors with the highest safety and sanitation standards for accommodations, events, dive, tours and attractions, transportation and culinary experiences.

Kirkconnell also said that local economist and consultant Paul Byles, founder and director of FTS, will be working with the ministry to help shape the plan. He said there would be continued stakeholder engagement in the development of this new three-year plan.

“Together we will engage with the sector to ensure that new policies and safety measures are in place to ensure that our guests know we are ready to welcome them back. This is a plan for success for all Caymanians and those who support our dynamic tourism industry,” the minister said.

Right now, the order closing Cayman’s borders is due to be lifted on 1 September, but given the approach the government has taken to try to eliminate the virus, the ports are unlikely to open even then.

Premier Alden McLaughlin has noted on numerous occasions that he does not think the borders will reopen much before the end of the year. As Cayman inches towards reopening its domestic economy, the risk posed by allowing people back in without quarantining them would serve to undermine the policy approach the administration has taken.

Other regional destinations are, however, taking the risk, and despite still dealing with the spread of the virus in the community there, Jamaica plans to open up its economy in less than two weeks.

Meanwhile, Mexico, which is seeing a surge in the spread of the coronavirus, is planning to open several of its Caribbean resorts later this month and St Lucia, which is one of the few countries in the world right now with no active cases of the virus at all, is planning to take the risk of beginning a phased reopening as early as Thursday of this week.

Aruba is also planning to reopen to visitors before the end of June, and the US Virgin Islands became the first Caribbean destination to open its doors to visitors this week.

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Comments (122)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Nope unna Brackers stuck with them until they decide to retire. Every election the Brac seems to attract some candidates who have lived in Grand Cayman for many,many years and also the lady from Little Cayman can count on being in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Keeping your borders closed after the virus has died down in other jurisdictions is not a real strategy – it is simply FEAR of a natural phenomenon that will be with us for many years. It is the same FEAR that drove them to make irrational decisions of making Sundays a hard curfew and closing all access to beaches and the sea.
    FEAR cannot dictate your strategy, if it does then we will be caught in the headlights like some panicked deer! This is what is beginning to happen here. None of our politicians, especially the opposition, has the courage to begin to question whether the cure is more costly than the disease. How many businesses need to be destroyed before they decide to open our borders? How much of peoples savings need to be destroyed while Moses and Alden dither about when is the right time? This isn’t about money. It is about having a functioning society after all of this is over. Not destroying the livelihoods of many thousands of people that they have worked years and decades to create.
    The governments remit isn’t to save everyone whatever the cost. The governments job is to have a sensible public health policy which recognises the balance between living with a naturally occurring virus and peoples livelihoods and freedoms. I get we needed to isolate ourselves while the peaks come and go in other places, but all of Europe is beginning to open up and we are in June! Our government is beginning to make fundamental decisions about 3 months from now! No one has any understanding of what the world will look like then. Why are they determined to keep us closed off? FEAR. They are terrified of making the hard decisions.
    Look around us, the government has taken control of pretty much everything in our lives and it is now refusing to let go of anything but the most mundane restrictions. They have to put a timetable on how long they intend on doing this, otherwise we just become another police state.

  3. Donatus Kissoon says:

    Firstly this highlights the real issue, which is Cayman should not be relying on the single industry of tourism which is susceptible to the vagries of weather and the hurricane season in particular. This was sustainable when we had offshore banking. After Washington forced Whitehall to force transparency on us because of their own tax issues dressed up as money laundering issues, that industry left us. This exposed tourism as a single industry as being vulnerable.
    To compete in that sector we need to develop a better product. At the very least we need to remove liquor licensing restrictive hours and allow casinos to attract a higher spending tourist. Without these, the Bahamas would not survive. We have to admit that other than eat, drink and beach; Cayman does not have enough by way of attractions to get the result we need from tourism.
    We need to diversify by developing new industries. We could become the centre for crypto-currency based investments. Be the first to have a crypto industry that removes the abuses allowed by faceless online transactions. Do it right with proper legally enforcible paper contracts.
    Ramp up re-cycling as an industry. Develop light manufacturing to reduce our reliance on imports. Become an entertainment / film studio hub.
    Have a national lottery to reduce the amount of numbers money leaving Cayman. Replace the Farmers’ Market with a Farmers’ Co-operative so anynody farming anything can have their products bought by a central body and retailed to locals, tourists, restaurants and hotels alike. Force hotels and restaurants to buy local goods as far as practicable. Become a major sailing destination by having an annual event like Antigua does with their Sailing Week. Make each week in the year a different event. We already have Pirate’s Week, Batabano, Fishing Tournaments; now e need to develop other major events that people will want to travel to be part of. Legalise marijuana, it is a very profitable industry and safer than alcohol.
    Just thinking within the same old box is not going to help us thrive again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you nuts????
      Casinos, unrestricted liquor licensing and crypto-currency = Recipe for disaster!

    • Anonymous says:

      Certainly no casinos. We do not want Chinese money launderers here. Just look at what happened in Vancouver. We already have a money laundering problem in real estate. Furthermore, high end spenders do not generally go to casinos.

    • Anonymous says:

      Completely agree. Ganja is a booming industry which could provide a huge boost to the economy, just as it has done for all the other nations who finally took the initiative. Could be our saviour.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Before we open to the USA we first need to get mail coming in from the USA. Someone is having a transportation problem? I didn’t know that paper coming in cloth sacks could retain the virus for such a long time. By the way isn’t FEDEX, SPRINT and DHL operating?
    Staycations sound great, how does John Q Public join the new upcoming industry? People going to want to be on the beach? Who can afford that in Cayman? Across from the beach? Sounds like a lot of ex-tourism workers have an easy transition to get a bank loan and buy beach and than build a cottage. We going to need insurance for hurricane and sargasso sea weed. But let’s not forget we have to pay Government hotel room rate. How much are we making from this new venture?
    Shouldn’t we just open apartments on the beach? Under $200 per night like Cayman brac or Cuba? All those that can’t join this group will have to work in security work or retrain if under 40. All those above can find a job being a babysitter, domestic worker, security guard, janitor, etc. because you don’t like cruise ships or volume tourists??

  5. Russ Boychuk says:

    I applaud Moses and his 3 year approach. Stay over visitors bring a lot more stability to the Country’s economy without the assault of Cruise Ships. With the Financial Industry in Cayman on thin ice as the EU retaliates (followed by the US with Biden/Warren), Cayman must go high end. Population is surely to shrink to around 45,000 from 68,000 with the long term collapse of the Cruise Ship and Offshore Finance Industry.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Like trying to nail Jello to a tree…

  7. Anonymous says:

    So, in a nutshell, our plan appears to be that we are closed to tourism until one of three things happens. 1: We get a vaccine. 2: Covid-19 goes away. 3. We elect a different government. Therefore, tourism is pretty much dead until 2021 anyway you look at it. Great plan, two enthusiastic thumbs up.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Alden and PPM deliberately keeping Cayman Ports closed and pretending it won’t open till December so that certain assets ( hotels) become available for sale. A certain vulture capitalist is waiting to gobble up hotels on the cheap . Once sale is complete the airport will open.
    Alden always was and is a snakes in the grass pandering to special interests.

    • Anonymous says:

      Moses handling of this crisis, where the majority of people in tourism is effected is pathetic.
      He left for Cayman Brac in March and never returned fo GC.. He did one zoom press meeting.
      Moses you had 12 weeks to do a plan and did nothing. Now you are formulating a plan now. As the Minister of Tourism. why do you not have a plan as yet? What have you been working on for the past 12 weeks? Ah you been fishing in the Brac.

      • Self Quarantine for the Rich only says:

        Aaaaaah 547pm you have touched on something but you are somewhat off because the little cabal has Infact been seriously undermining the locals in that industry and conspiring with others to get the selected few who no longer have a special reason to return here other than to infect the local population who because of this lockdown has never been exposed to the virus but now will.Yes Cayman they will return and quarantine themselves conveniently in quarters controlled and run by them like some did in March. if we have been lock down for over three months how come the virus has not been eliminated and we continue to see infections rise as they get tested it is pretty obvious that many who have returned are not complying with any of the laws and rules put in place. From what I have seen it’s very obvious exactly who they are too. Caymanians do not let them fool you!

      • Anonymous says:

        No bagging groceries at his grocery store in the Brac. That’s what he has been doing. Pathetic

    • Anonymous says:

      Speculation Only, – Dart does their homework before closing down 3 hotels until the end of the year at the earliest. I would imagine the influence ‘to close’ wasn’t only tallied by markers in the US and CI Govt must have given firm indication about a proposed lengthy border shutdown. Imagine the friction if Aldart suddenly had a change of mind now and decided to open earlier…🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Mo Money Con Spiracy says:

      5:29pm you know what time it is! All about the quarantine WP deportees/returnees $$$$ who will no doubt have to headed to VC’s newly acquired special quarantine properties/facilities too ! Our new pillar of the economy fleece/extort the WP holder twice oooooh yeah! You damn right 5:58pm you better get wid the program Mr BIG and your fool fool essential worker, simply have to pay to play.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can we look at other markets and new flight routes other than USA?
    Please diversify.
    Open to counties with lower numbers.

    Just an idea open slowly, open to Canada to fly in and look to see how screening works?

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at Canada. Calgary and Vancouver.

      • Anonymous says:

        Entire Caribbean region needs to put in the infrastructure to self sustain and have food security. We should be doing business with each other to help achieve this.

      • Anonymous says:

        With the Canadian dollar worth just over 60 cents CI, you aren’t going to get the passenger loads to make those routes feasible. Better to focus on Los Angeles and the entertainment jet set. If Grand Cayman is good enough for Armie Hammer and Elizabeth Chambers to sit out Covid lockdown, maybe it’s good enough for other Hollywood A-listers.

        • Anonymous says:

          We could fill ourselves with Hollywood A-listers, if only there was an effective way for them to come and stay. Quartine is fine. Quarantine at the Holiday Inn or Comfort Suites is a non-starter!

        • Anonymous says:

          You have no idea how many 60 years and older Canadians have money to burn in the sun from November to April. I have seen them in Palm Springs, Naples, Florida and Arizona.

          All they need is the direct flights.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hollywood A listers come here on private jets.

      • Anonymous says:

        Lots of older people with money in Calgary and Vancouver.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not enough to fill planes on a regular basis and don’t forget that those people generally prefer Hawaii because it’s closer and much more beautiful.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So, let’s say CIG decides to open our borders September 1, who exactly are the tourists that many of you expect to return overnight? Is it Americans – whose health and economy will still be ravaged by coronavirus in their own country? The same Americans who have become unemployed by the millions?The same Americans, some of whom are losing even more from the riots all over their country?

    Is it Canadians, who are economically impacted like everyone else? Statistically, their numbers as tourists to Cayman are less than Americans. Does anyone expect them to “miraculously” flip into first place and flood these islands?

    Is it Europeans, few of whom we can count as viable tourists anyway due to years and years of bad marketing and perhaps airlift issues? Is it South Americans who are facing their own rising impacts from coronavirus, both their health and economies.

    Who exactly are these tourists that you expect to return overnight?

    By an large, vacations to “exotic” islands are a LUXURY! You hounds baying at the mouth for our borders to open specifically for tourism to resume/rebound at the snap of a finger, simply don’t get it. The world’s economy has been severely impacted and the people who we are depending on to bail ours out have been impacted like us all! Very few will be disposing precious incomes (those who still have), savings or other funds on overseas vacations, especially to a high-cost destination like Cayman!!

    I run a tourist-dependent business and all my bookings which were in hand have been cancelled. I don’t expect any new bookings for the foreseeable future. I have accepted that reality and have to suck it up, hard as it is. I’ll try to find something else to to tide me over for at least two tourist seasons. I suggest that most of you drooling for tourists to return this season do the same. Get creative if you want to survive!

    Moses Kirkconnell’s 3 year recovery timeline is at least realistic. You all better get on that band wagon and realize that in the interim, local-based “tourism” (staycations, etc.) is what our tourism industry will have to depend on!! Restaurants, hotels (especially) and other tourist-related businesses need to realize that and re-arrange their business plans and rates to accommodate that and stimulate whatever is left of our tourism industry!

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not all about tourists. It’s also about residents and WP holders being able to visit relatives overseas without having to get ripped off by the government charging $2000+CI to stay in a government facility on their return. Are you trying to tell me that they aren’t getting a cut from this daylight robbery?

      • Anonymous says:

        Daylight robbery? If you make the decision to leave these islands then yes, pay to return and be quarantined. These measures are there to protect the rest of us who are staying put. People have shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted to properly adhere to quarantine protocols at home. Look at how many “contact from a previously positive contact” cases we have. Look at that woman in that apartment complex who put everyone living there at risk. You may not like it, but get over it. Either go and stay gone for a while, or enjoy virtual means of communication.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly. Everyone wants to go sip Pimms in the garden this summer, but they don’t want to pay the price, so… moan, moan, moan.

          • Anonymous says:

            Some of us want to be able to get our children to University and get back in a reasonable time with some degree of assurance and lack of uneccessary quarantine requirements.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s Americans. They’ll come, get tested and spend money. Open the airports and they’ll start coming probably within days. Many of them own second homes and condos here.

      • Anonymous says:

        But Canada is way ahead of the Americans in dealing with the virus. America will be in a hole for some time the way they are going. Just look at the stats today for Florida and Texas. Not good.

        • Anonymous says:

          And it’s going to get worse next week as lots of protesters from all over the country get COVID.

        • Anonymous says:

          What about the stats in Fl or TX? Our rate is about the same with locked borders and suppression orders and hundreds of miles of water between us and the world.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you buy into the fear approach generated by government then I can see why September looks like a lost cause but look at the facts. In the US (our main tourism source market), the number of positives has dropped by 50% from its peak, while the number of tests has increased 4 fold. This is in 2 months….! We have no idea where we will be in 2 months but if the trend continues then we will reach a point where the virus could well burn itself out as has happened with many different viruses before.
      Here in Cayman we have had no positives with symptoms for a long time until today and they tried to make that out to be a huge deal. When questioned they looked embarrassed when they had to admit the child had not been admitted but only had mild symptoms.
      Why are all these people asymptomatic? Maybe its because this virus isn’t as dangerous and deadly as they once thought or more importantly claimed in public? How can Alden keep saying that we won’t open in September or October when we are in June? How does he know what the US will be like then? Does he have a crystal ball or has he already made up his mind, irrelevant of however good it looks. This is the behaviour that is making people crazy. This is not responsible leadership. This is a man with an agenda, whatever the science is telling him. It appears from the way they are acting that they have already made up their minds and choose the science that best fits their agenda.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is almost funny that the golden carrot being dangled in front of property owners for the ‘Staycation’ industry to hatch out of 7 mile beach , as the savior of those peoples investments. Lets review : A couple who live in South Sound are all of a sudden going to realize they need to now pay to stay in some condo or house for a weekend ? The workers who lost their jobs & income & savings due to the border closure, resultant tourism crash , months long curfew’s are all of a sudden going to want to pay for a short staycation , when they live 10 miles away ?Just who does Moses plan to target locally for this Staycation plan?

      • Anonymous says:

        I have done exactly what you say we wouldn’t, but usually only for a weekend and usually to the Eastern Districts to get out of the SMB/GT rat race. And to the Sister Islands. It happens and a lot of people enjoy a hotel stay. But tourists typically come for 5-8 days and staycations are generally more like 2-3 days. Plus, tourists spend a lot of money on tours that locals probably wouldn’t. Since my wife and I have already decided we’re not going anywhere until December at the earliest, we’re going to take a few 2-3 day staycations this year, partially to support the tourism industry.

  11. MEER says:

    We CANNOT let the cure be worse than the disease. Global lock-downs have health benefits: fewer will die of COVID-19, as well as all other transmissible diseases.

    But they have REAL social and economic costs: social isolation (“lockedin”), unemployment, widespread bankruptcies and hunger to name a few.

    COVID-19 will never be eliminated. We cannot continue to live in a “bubble”. At some point in the near future one can only assume some human rights issues start to come into play…..?

    Open the Cayman Islands boarders 1st September.

    • MEER says:

      This goes without saying; OR BEFORE 1st Sept (!)

    • Anonymous says:

      Look north Meer. Look north. That will have to determine when we open as our social and economic links are too close with Florida.

      • MEER says:

        The virus will never be eliminated. At one point the band-aid simply needs to be ripped off for the good of socioeconomics and let the new normal take it course.

    • Anonymous says:

      Open yesterday.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, and cases are still going up in Florida. Problem in Florida is they have a Trump follower as Governor so he does not listen to his state medical experts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, and as of today since May 27th, cases are up 9% in Florida and 15% in Texas. Problem is the Trump neophyte Governors are following Trump not the doctors and scientists.

        They have opened there too early. Another disaster coming.

  12. Say it like it is says:

    This is all pie in the sky until we allow our principal source of tourists access to our islands. As this principal source is the U.S., which has become the world capital of Covid-19 leaving others in their wake, the future looks bleak if the Premier sticks to his guns. Even into next year I wonder how we can open our borders to Americans as their epidemic will hardly have disappeared by then.
    What we need from the Premier is some firm conditions under which he will allow Americans unfettered access. If he is still obsessed with not having a single additional death from Covid then we will have to wait until after the election and hope his successor has achievable objectives.

    • Anonymous says:

      The way things are going we might have to open up to both Canada and the U.K. before Americans. The situation certainly cannot be said to be improving in Florida, Texas and other southern American states.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ 4.46 Until the exorbitant price of getting here (and staying here) from the UK goes down, you will NEVER see an influx of UK tourists. There are tourist spots just as nice as Cayman, and a LOT cheaper in Europe.

        • Anonymous says:

          The price of staying here and real estate prices will soon be going down here very fast.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Let me start of by saying that this is not a plan, just a way of spinning wheels until the genius leaders can figure out nothing. To be frank and realistic, the doors to the Cayman Islands cannot remain shut until the end of the year, relying on the domestic market will not thrive anything nor put food on the tables of those that suffered the most in the tourism industry. To state that no one is really going to travel only makes me wonder what kind of survey if any was done to see if people would come to our shores. I personally have received numerous calls and emails asking when would our boarders open and queries to the process of visiting, asking if we are going to implement a process like the Bahamas. So to think no one will come is incorrect, and we need to find a fine balance of opening up sooner than later but with a careful and safe plan. This virus is not leaving and nor will we ever get rid of it so we all either learn to live with it or close down this island for good. Unless a vaccine is created and let’s remember vaccines are only good for that particular virus so there will always be a challenge. At this point, the lives of those that are losing everything and those that require medical treatment elsewhere for Cancer etc. out weighs seeing if an unfortunate event happens with losing someone to the virus, it sounds cruel but the reality is people have died from other viruses, pneumonia etc. but it’s not reported. Stay healthy, take care of you and hope our leaders rethink this whole process with a smart solution.

  14. Anonymous says:

    My humble bits of advice for this current Minister for Tourism are as follows:

    1. You and your ministry have an opportunity to do it right this time. Please do it!! A greater
    focus MUST be on stayover tourism as this is the area of tourism that most of our
    money is earned;
    2. Whatever this plan entails, please ensure it includes the best possible ways to
    improve our tourism products that benefits everyone;
    3. No area of this plan should include raising fees, of any kind, to recoup the losses during
    4. The focus of domestic tourism should not be a one-off thing. COVID-19 MUST be an
    ongoing learning experience for this industry;
    5. Development of suitable and affordable Staycations MUST now be a greater part of the
    tourism emphasis as equal to international tourism;
    6. There is no time like the present time to do everything possible to ‘Caymanise’ this
    industry. Caymanians must now be encouraged to enter this industry and offered/
    provided adequate training and opportunities to be able to do so;
    7. This plan should be created so as to be able to be carried forward in the future
    regardless of who the next Minister of Tourism happens to be;
    8. Safety and security of all Cayman tourists (domestic, regional, and international) must
    be at the forefront of this policy with continued emphasis on improvement as time goes
    by; and finally
    9. Ecotourism must continue to be an area of focus and with the intention of protecting as
    much of the natural environment that we have left before it is too late.

    • Anonymous says:

      Solutions (for the Minister):
      1) Ecotourism
      2) Ecotourism

      9) Oh, there it is, Ecotourism.
      “and do it right” (as you said)

      • Anonymous says:

        Ecotourism is the way to go but that requires Caymanian brain power at the political level. I don’t think we have that here.

  15. Anonymous says:

    their plan is pure waffle and is really no plan.
    this is the only question that should be asked:
    how come many other tourist destinations (spain, iceland, jamiace to name a few) all have plans to open by july?…and why are we again so far behind???

  16. Anonymous says:

    Before you grapple with tourism, how about letting Caymanians come home? 1) Why is there only one isolation facility? 2) What facility is it? 3) Other Caribbean countries are letting tourists in while Cayman isn’t letting Caymanians in. 4) We vote!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is embarrassing that we have 4 or 5 flights to Miami this month and no people are coming back! Answers to your questions: 1. Because they are government and are unable to meet their own regulations. They have choices but have not made them. a) use more hotels or b) allow people to quarantine at home. 2. I believe it is the Holiday Inn that remains open. 3. Because there is no strategy. They are winging it. 4. Not only do we vote but there is a constitution which mandates free movement of entry to Cayman. While there is a public health caveat this is now looking very very wobbly based on the reality that we are 10 weeks into the lock down. They can’t keep restricting people wanting to come back home because they aren’t organised enough to meet their own requirements! Bermuda has just allowed people to quarantine at home and this is the only logical move for Cayman to make as the government has shown they cannot even deal with some of the flights coming here.

      • Anonymous says:

        100% BUT need to change ” embarrassing ” to Disgusting

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, that worked well with the last flights that arrived here from overseas before lockdown. How do you think we got Covid19 rampaging through Grand Cayman? The people that were supposed to self isolate did not self isolate.

        • Anonymous says:

          Rampaging? Yeah, ok then. 150 cases is hardly rampaging. A bit of perspective please.

  17. Anonymous says:

    More importantly, when will WE (your people + every person that calls Cayman ‘home’) be allowed to freely come and go!!????? We are being held captive until 1st of September???
    GIVE US A PLAN!! Let us plan our lives!!!! This is ridiculous.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Unless the plan hastily puts money into the pockets of operators who have forcibly been made (and continue) to have their shop closed I’m not really interested, – and don’t refer me to the ‘small business grant’ that ‘isn’t being taken advantage of’ which we’ve been told we’re ineligible for probably because we accurately disclosed our annual revenue. At this stage I should at least be pleased there’s a plan, but a 3 year plan that disregards the near term business devastation that without help most will not survive to share in the glory of persevering with Mo$e$’$ and Mr Byles initiative doesn’t work for me. Wise up ‘self asserted learned ones’ and walk in the shoes of those you expect to wait an extended period without income being afforded nothing but re-education programmes.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Moses who?

  20. Covid Man says:

    Think any of this will end before the current goverment & Governor are out of power?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Idea – to spur help to economy; allow NAU recipients to stay in Ritz & Kimpton; that will be a great staycation!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry about a 3 year plan Mo$e$. With any luck your term as MOT and MLA will be over in 8 months.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the Brackers can find some good candidates to get rid of MK and JuJu that would be most welcome.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Keep closed for two years, allow the Dart Group to purchase other hotels they do not already own, let them have the airline and then what a wonderful place we will have!

  24. Anonymous says:

    End mass tourism, it was ending us. No more overcrowded beaches or destinations. let those who’ll immediately suffer (bus drivers, etc) re-train and re-tool for a higher end luxury product and branding.

    But to have the king of the port movement at the helm of this? madness..CPR, don’t stop yet…there is a future in cruise in Cayman, but it’s high end, luxury yachts and mini cruise ships. Build a few marinas. Dont go back to being a smaller Cancun…be the jewel of the caribbean

  25. Anonymous says:

    The charade continues….

  26. Anonymous says:

    “Right now, the order closing Cayman’s borders is due to be lifted on 1 September, but given the approach the government has taken to try to eliminate the virus, the ports are unlikely to open even then. Premier Alden McLaughlin has noted on numerous occasions that he does not think the borders will reopen much before the end of the year.”

    This is ridiculous Please tell us: how can any tourism-related business– come up with a viable business plan for the future with this kind of idiotic, bait and switch policy? If you are going to keep the borders closed while the rest of the world adjusts to a new normal living with COVID 19, then say so and stop pretending you have a plan or giving us hope. And in the meantime find a way to let residents stuck overseas return and quarantine at home.

    By the time Cayman reopens, those able and willing to travel to the Caribbean will have discovered other welcoming destinations. Those businesses able to survive will be courting “domestic tourism” for years to come as our people continue to suffer and the economy crumbles.

    • Anonymous says:

      September 1st was plucked out of the air with no thought whatsoever behind it. There was no rationale. No supporting evidence. Just a guesstimate. Now is the time to re-evaluate and present a cogent argument. ‘Just because’ isn’t going to cut it much longer.

  27. Anonymous says:

    They better rethink keeping the borders closed for the rest of the year. That is a ridiculous, short sighted approach. How abut testing on arrival, quarantine at home etc. There are a lot of Caymanians and residents that need to be able to travel to and from the Islands for reasons like medical, family, bereavement etc. Find a way to deal with it, rather than prohibit it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the CIG believes there must be a new industry about to be created, in thatch rope splicing & turtle meat for all the 2020 high school graduates .

  28. Anonymous says:

    Look on the bright side Cayman. We have even more room for tourists. Released prisoners. Empty hospital beds. Empty buildings and more to come.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the late field hospital at the Family Life Centre – money well spent that was…

  29. Beau says:

    The rest of the Caribbean is opening up to travel between now and July 1. Cayman is the outlier and the laughingstock.

    • Anonymous says:

      He who has the last laugh laughs hardest.

      • Anonymous says:

        Interestingly, when I’ve heard that expression in the past, I heard “loudest” and “best” but never “hardest.” Lots of variations to adages like that tend to be idiomatic to a specific regions. Is that version typical of where you are from. Is that the Caymanian version?

    • Anonymous says:

      Laughingstock to who? Make them open, we can see what their number are like. Let them test out the first “wave” of people.

  30. Anonymous says:

    So, the Tourism think tank is comprised of Paul Byles (hasn’t done much lately consultant) and Moses Kirkconnell (of of his depth Minister). Why doesn’t the Chief Medical Officer factor into this Committee?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Here are some ideas:

    1. No more mass market cruise tourism EVER.
    2. Find a way for quarantine to not be like prison.
    3. Start by using the airb’nb market to enable families to come and enjoy Cayman, rent cars, shop, dive, eat in restaurants, provide government revenue etc. without requiring large established infrastructure of hotels. – with a 30 day minimum stay required for the first months of reopening.
    4. Concentrate on high end visitors and the diving community (they are great people and truly love Cayman).
    5. Recognize the value of us being a Covid free bubble for extended stay visitors – and let them stay up to a year if they want to!
    6 Require hotels to do a better job training and employing Caymanians, and when they are ready allow them to start reopening with preference given to those who employ the highest percentage of Caymanians.
    7. As soon as the science allows, have a mechanism to allow persons with immunity (if it exists) greater flexibility in coming and staying.

    We should not waste this opportunity. Through all the economic devastation and personal tragedy, like a hurricane, we have a rare opportunity to build back better in a way that does not rely on throngs of people (including minimum wage workers imported for the purpose) to operate, and increases the standard for all.

    Let the games commence!

    • Anonymous says:

      who can take a 30 day vacation not all people have excess money to leave their jobs for weeks at a time

      • Anonymous says:

        More than we could possibly accommodate.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hear you. But equally, ‘work form home or work from Cayman’ vacations. The point I think is that this is a chance to try and find new ways to do things, because rushing back to what we (globally) were doing isn’t the best idea.

      • Anonymous says:

        Europeans. Time to diversify our market.

      • Anonymous says:

        You would be surprised. Before covid many jobs were able to be remote, jobs in fields such as social media, trading, certain finance jobs. I worked in a hotel on seven mile beach an many persons came on working vacations and didn’t mind staying for 2 or more weeks. I imagine this would be even more now with covid. Work world is changing offices will become less significant. Internet is king

        • Anonymous says:

          Workplace culture has been changing elsewhere for two decades. Many here are suffering because they were too shortsighted to invest in change, particularly CIG. Most of those who did invest are still working.

  32. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands tourism industry was indeed “riding high” just a few months ago and previously. I recall Mr. Moses and his Tourism officials repeatedly “beating their chests” and boasting about “their successes” to make the boom happen. Literally every month they were issuing new statistics!

    Even when some of our competitors in the Eastern Caribbean and Bahamas had suffered devastating hurricane damage last season, from which we may have benefited, our Tourism officials were heartlessly boasting of their/our success.

    Where is that bragging now?? Yes, this is a global phenomena, not exclusive to Cayman but the effects on us are now the same as what hurricanes did to those other islands – a decimated tourism industry. How quickly we are suffering the same!!

    God / karma prefers humility over boastfulness !!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Why would a statistically mild virus that has caused a three month shut down take three YEARS to recover from? Who are the “stakeholders” that are guiding this plan?

  34. Anonymous says:

    If tourism accounts for maybe 25% of GDP, why is it ALWAYS the highest priority with these guys? Let’s focus on getting off the EU blacklist and tackling local corruption (per CFATF report) to retain our custodial relationships and entity’s access to the int’l payments system. Tourism can rightly be a secondary priority for way down the road, once we get serious on tackling the very entrenched cronyism this regime seems to naturally gravitate towards with every choice.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Many days late, many dollars short.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Moses, Alden and the rest of Government and their chosen few advisors and civil servants couldn’t grapple their way out of a wet paper bag.

    They have gone from necessary closure with the support of the whole island to total overreach with very little support at all.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I recently criticized the media for headlines without perspective, but they nailed this one. One clarification in content. Covid-19 wasn’t a devastating blow to Cayman. It was our politicians reaction to it.

  38. Anonymous says:

    As long as his plan has nothing to do with a stupid port…. very curious to see what he’s going to propose as we are in level 10 cluster eff the economy.

    • Anonymous says:

      the privileged, politicial wanabees and their blind sheep followers need to figure out how they are going to feed already hungry families with their bleating about no cruise.

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