CITA: Cayman needs summer opening plan now

| 28/05/2021 | 372 Comments
Cayman News Service
CITA panel (L-R) Marc Langevin, Markus Mueri, Natalie Porter and Jay Ehrhart

(CNS): Tourism sector stakeholders say they need time to remobilize the sector well ahead of the high season and so the borders must reopen and begin welcoming albeit limited numbers of guests by the summer. This will enable the hospitality industry to be ready to receive more significant numbers later in the year and start the real recovery of the tourism sector. During a Cayman Islands Tourism Association meeting on Thursday, stakeholders heard about the executive’s latest meeting with government, the time it is going to take to reopen, as well as the challenges the sector faces to be ready and the pressing need for a planned., progressive, pathway to reopening tourism.

CITA President Marc Langevin, the general manager of the Ritz where the meeting was held, said there was a lot to do and a lot to deal with ahead of the 2021 high season. He said the Cayman Islands would likely fail in its aim to get overnight tourism back on track for this year’s high season unless it prepared properly. The need for recruiting, training, dealing with supply chains and shortages, as well as all of the additional requirements surrounding the pandemic means that the borders need to open this summer so that the hospitality industry can begin to remobilize in a planned fashion.

He said that across the sector, as well as testing pandemic safety protocols, they will need to recruit and train around 2,500 people, which will include trying to encourage people who are now working in other jobs to return to tourism. And even if the sector can recruit as many as a 1,000 people locally, they will still need another 1,500 overseas workers. Langevin said a plan is required to help the industry secure the work permits it needs and get the staff here.

Representatives from the larger hotels also said that their bookings for the high season are starting to decline again because no open date has been scheduled. In addition, there are still no confirmed flights available to get people here, and as a result travel agents and hotel chains are redirecting holidaymakers to other islands because they are not confident that people will be able to come to Cayman. Hotel managers believe that unless Cayman reopens officially to commercial airlines again, this will undermine any chance the sector might have to start the recovery during the 2021/22 high season.

“We are all suffering right now,” Langvine said, adding that unless things change, they would continue to do so.

He told the CITA members that the association had an open, honest and lively discussion with the government but they will not open the borders for any reason other than the recommendations of medical professionals, based on the science relating to the spread of the virus. This entails reaching the herd immunity level of at least 70% of the community getting vaccinated. That goal is still possible within the next month or so and CITA has secured money from Dart’s R3 Foundation to offer a US$10,000 raffle to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Langevin said the vaccination drive remains a priority for CITA but they are also urging a progressive reopening plan through this summer to allow for training and development, and provide some hope and prevent smaller business from closing for good. The sooner the borders open, the sooner the challenges of remobilizing can be tackled, easing the phased return of the second pillar of Cayman’s economy, he said.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (372)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You forgot the part about how Covid was invented on Cayman Brac 10 years ago and we all developed immunity slowly over the past 10 years – that is about as probable as the content of your post

  2. Anonymous says:

    Says the manager of the Ritz closing it’s doors for ‘renovations’. Obviously no shortage of money despite no tourists. I smell bovine faeces.

    • Anonymous says:

      You read the bit about this being about reopening for busy season? In the Ritz’s case being after the refurb? Or do you seriously think the Ritz can survive and continue on staycations and local restaurant trade?

    • Anonymous says:

      Must be nice to have a guaranteed salary for doing nothing other than talking shit on CNS. Are you a government employee by chance?

  3. Anonymous says:

    From the Guardian this morning – worth noting in the considerations of when and how to open.

    “The coronavirus variant of concern first detected in India is continuing to spread across England, with cases emerging beyond “hotspot” areas, data suggests.

    The variant, known as B.1.617.2, is thought to be driving a rise in Covid cases in parts of the UK and is believed to be both more transmissible than the variant first detected in Kent, which previously dominated, and somewhat more resistant to Covid vaccines, particularly after just one dose.

    At present up to three-quarters of new Covid cases in the UK are thought to be caused by the India variant. There have also been signs of a slight rise in hospitalisations.

    The situation has led some scientists to warn that the country is now in the early stages of a third wave of coronavirus which, despite the vaccination programme, modelling suggests could lead to a rise in hospitalisations and deaths, and that full easing of restrictions in England on 21 June should be reconsidered.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    Plan for summer opening – summer 2022 that is.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You know Canada is closed, too, right?

    This isn’t just Cayman that is closed.

    Look out from under your rock.

  6. Annie says:

    Let’s just take a little poll. State you country of origin and level of education. And if you have , or have not been been vaccinated, want to get vaccinated, or if you believe Bill Gates is hiding in your porridge.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly, the one-sided approach taken by the media here in Cayman will do little to help convince the remaining 3rd of the population who aren’t vaccinated.

      There have been no open debate on the “safety and effectiveness” of these shots here. Any attempts to discuss the issue critically is shunned, especially whenever any statistics are cited which raise genuine concerns – even if they are from an official source like the US VAERS database.

      CNS: The anti-vax points are made over and over again in these comments, and they are explained or debunked over and over again to absolutely no effect. Case in point is the VAERS database. One more time, Reuters: Fact Check-VAERS data does not prove thousands died from receiving COVID-19 vaccines

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you once again CNS – The most important thing about VAERS and this is a quote from their website – “Anyone can report an adverse event to VAERS.” That means that any idiot and his cousins with any flat earth type point to prove can report any nonsense and VAERS will duly note it so that the same idiot and his cousins can point to their own reports to VAERS as proof of their idiotic ideas.

  7. Annoyed to the Mac says:

    We need to get rid of pork and favoritism. I smell some from stink of cronyism some road closures. Absolutely no way anyone sane would have approved that road closure last Saturday.on Cardinal Ave. So who approved it? And why. We actively opposed it. In response.

  8. Anonymous says:

    If they open now or soon all the we have done to this point will become pointless.

    Cayman is in a very enviable position might now and if anything more foreign investment for the long term will come into the islands if we continue to keep Cayman COVID free for the foreseeable future.

    Short termism is not the answer here.

    • Anonymous says:

      These pests at it again?




      It gets us nowhere – sit and talk these things through in a boardroom somewhere, anywhere – with CIG

  9. Anonymous says:

    We locked down for the minority. Now let’s open for the majority.

    • Anonymous says:

      The majority do not want to open. If there is any question about that lets have a referendum to make things very clear to those that value money over country.

      • Anonymous says:

        Everyone wants to be open to vaccinated individuals. No quarantine if you’ve got your jab.

        • Anonymous says:

          One way to test that claim- referendum

        • Anonymous says:

          Unfortunately you are wrong. A lot of people don’t want us to be open to anyone other than Caymanians returning from medical, educational or even shopping trips. On the theory that somehow the economy can withstand cutting ourselves off from the rest of the world.

    • Anonymous says:

      My daddy always said that the majority of people are idiots😂😂😂😂

  10. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone else noticed that whenever the CITA executive gets near a pubic podium (high horse) that the resistance to opening any time soon goes up at least 200%? Have they never heard of quiet diplomacy?

    • Anonymous says:

      Isn’t this the same guy that offered the Ritz as hotel bubble without consulting with the owners of the residences. No thanks CITA, stick to catering to tourists when they return. You guys are out of depth taking about reopening.

    • Anonymous says:

      That quiet diplomacy route working so well so far. More like appeasement.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I question Marc Langevin’s underlying motivation, it seems his purpose for the stage is that previously of Mrs Doak

    Opening for summer at this stage and enduring a soft opening doesn’t help anybody/small businesses, in fact it probably disadvantages most. People like Marc who have accessibility to cash to float them through what would be a 6 month slow season, July to Dec, (sure that’s nice for a bump at x-mas) only then to endure another 4 month slow period until March. It simply doesn’t make sense for the small business owner chasing limited returns likely putting them further in the hole. I have a hard time believing the cruise industry which typically provided a dampening boost during those slow times will provide as before considering the restrictions, protocols being put in place.

    To cry we’re losing travellers to other destinations is primarily a self serving perspective. The Islands that time forget never had a problem attracting visitors and had done so long before Mr Langevin or Dart showed up and before being turned into a shit-show of over development, infrastructure breakdown, and cultural rape. Mr Langevin’s border opening broadcast is done as an instrument to put people in the Dart owned properties and by extension steer them to Caymana Bay.

    The CITA has long been ineffective and shouting now to open the borders just because they feel they’ve waited too long shows once again a lack of understanding and desire to uphold and promote what brought people here to begin with, the Cayman appeal. It could equally be argued that the Cayman Islands & Caymanians have waited far too long for the interruption from the unyielding disenfranchisement in their home country and whilst I’ll agree tourism is an excellent opportunity to show off and promote the Cayman Islands Country, it shouldn’t be done simply to console a board representative of sycophants whose primary objective is financial gain, – slow and steady with true objectives wins the race

    • Naya Boy says:

      Amen 10:34am The truth may be and offence to many but it ain’t no sin!

    • Anonymous says:

      I am in the financial services sector and can tell you that if we don’t resume international travel soon it’s going to have a negative impact on that business as well. One thing to work virtually where there is no alternative; another to watch as our competitors are free to travel for business, let alone being able to compete for talent. Lands that time forgot is not a compelling narrative for modern cross border business.

      • Anonymous says:

        Says the now concerned person whose income has most likely been unaffected for the past 14 months and instead probably prospered. If it’s ok I’ll put you on the list of ‘primary objective financial gain’

        • Anonymous says:

          You ae absolutely right. And my financial gain is what generates a not insignificant amount of tax revenue for the government. You want to think this is a joke – ask all the major law firm who now have offices elsewhere and are equally happy to bank client dollars in BVI or Bermuda what they think.

      • Anonymous says:

        Compete for talent? Hundreds of people have gotten work permits and moved to Cayman during these closed borders.

        Leave, go interview and hire your people, come back and quarantine. Apply for permit, get the permit, your talent arrives and quarantines. Where is the problem?

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes they work on construction sites.

        • Anonymous says:

          Whilst the rest of the world was locked down, being Covid free was a major selling point. If they open up, not so much. People are more concerned with the restrictions than the risk. Come to Cayman and you can enjoy a normal day to day life but cant travel is an attractive proposition when no one else an travel either. As others open up and day to day life restrictions ease, that becomes way less attractive and people focus on the negatives.

          • Anonymous says:

            I would add that most places are like that anyways. Normal day to day, just can’t travel to areas with restrictions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Come on. It’s never been busier for law or accounting firms. If you think Bermuda and BVI are going to show up in New York and they are suddenly going to stop using Cayman you’re insane. Nobody is doing face to face marketing any more – you seem to have forgotten that the rest of the world is either just now coming out of lockdown, and in some places they’re still in it.

        I’m all for opening up on a limited basis but to suggest that it’s hurting financial services is wrong.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Something like 1000 locally vaccinated residents of Cayman are traveling every month. We should be collecting the statistics on a statistically significant number – 2000 – 3000 to see how many of them are testing positive on return arrival and at 10 and 14 days. If none of them are testing positive despite traveling to places where there is still lots of Covid then perhaps we can look at easing quarantine for locally vaccinated residents. That would be a start.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? We can rely on data from the CDC and Public Health England, as well as studies by Pfizer. Are human beings in Cayman different than humans elsewhere?

      • Anonymous says:

        The US and UK have Covid and completely different contexts. A local study is the only way to ensure that a safe opening occurs.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok. Let’s do that then. Right now we are not relying on data – we just have an administration that has seized on 70% vaccination as a threshold to opening up, irrespective of the fact that we don’t even know what 70% of the actual population is or even have enough vaccine to get to that percentage.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeps, they don’t seem to catch COVID easily 😂😂😂

    • Ann says:

      So true! Why are we not doing so?

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent idea – no travel related study of that type has been published anywhere that I am aware of. It would be an opportunity for Cayman to make a significant contribution to solving a global problem at a very low cost.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good idea, we surely already have that data available, just the will to analyse it if not already.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great idea. You should suggest it to PHE/CDC. I can’t believe no one thought of that. We could call it something catchy like a Vaccine Effectiveness study.

  13. Cayman Reality Check says:

    Fellow Caymanians follow the science and I hope our government understands and does the same .Those that have been fully vaccinated can and will spread these variants of this virus and this is our new reality.Therefore you should get vaccinated to protect yourselves and love ones and it’s the duty of our government to protect everyone by making smart decisions and leaving Quarantine measures in place to help to protect all and not aid in its transmission.Those making false claims that those fully vaccinated cannot spread or transmit the virus are not following the science and are deluding themselves for personal gain and lack common sense.The presence of highly contagious variants in full vaccinated countries now is proof that it’s now not the time to relax or let down our guard but continue to be vigilant stay informed and practice safe quarantine measures going forward.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Cayman should follow the examples of those countries that have had the best opening outcomes and learn from those examples. Gibraltar and New Zealand come to mind. We should look at how they are opening, wait 6 months after they are fully open to make sure they did things right and then proceed in a proven safe similar manner.

    • Anonymous says:

      New Zealand is not open, and they have less than 10% vaccinated.

      • Anonymous says:

        We can wait for them to catch up as their vaccination program is going into high gear in the next few weeks. They are essentially Covid free as we are and have a much bigger population with a scientic community to optimise re-opening protocols.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Australia has the right idea – open some time mid-2022 if conditions permit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the full article – they are looking to open up for Australians who have been vaccinated to travel with no quarantine

      • Anonymous says:

        Read the full article and the rest of the information surrounding what Australia is considering. They are also working out how to allow Australians to travel without quarantine but will not implement that until the science fully justifies that position. We should do the same.

  16. Annoying says:

    Hey CITA, does anyone know why Penha was allowed to shut down all of Cardinall Ave today? And Albert Panton? For one tent! That no one went to? What the heck?! This was a as stupid as could be. Who approved this? No one was notified of the road closures. It cost all GT merchants at least half of their normal revenue! And the police were stationed at the closure all day! So their salaries as well. Really who ever grants these permits needs to be investigated. Because no sane person would have approved that.

    • Anonymous says:

      It sounds like you all been living in a bubble. You can live your life with Covid around by following protocols and the best defense is to be vaccinated. Second defense is wear a mask in high traffic areas ( airports etc). No need to quarantine. No need for social distancing when everyone is vaccinated.
      Get vaccinated and start traveling!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Another reason to throw the doors wide open and welcome everyone was reported today in the Guardian:

    Authorities in Vietnam have detected a new coronavirus variant that is a combination of the Indian and UK Covid-19 variants and spreads quickly by air, Reuters reports.

    After successfully containing the virus for most of last year, Vietnam is grappling with a rise in infections since late April that accounts for more than half of the total 6,856 registered cases. So far, there have been 47 deaths.

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