Stayover mainstay for most tourism workers

| 09/08/2021 | 73 Comments
Cayman Neww Service
Cruise ship visits Grand Cayman

(CNS): A survey conducted by the tourism ministry has revealed that Caymanian tourism workers and small business owners who have been displaced from their jobs and living by the border closures and have been receiving the government stipend are much more dependent on the stay-over sector than cruise tourism. Despite claims by the previous government that many thousands of Caymanians depended entirely on cruise ships to survive, as it justified the controversial but now abandoned cruise berthing project, this latest survey reveals that it is overnight guests that sustain 64% of the sector, while the 36% who say cruise is their primary focus also service overnight guests.

Among the more than 3,100 people from the tourism sector who have been receiving a stipend from the government and took part in this survey by the ministry, only 17 men who work on the tenders are entirely dependent on the cruise business for their livelihood. The other 1,090 people who pointed to cruise as their mainstay were working with overnight guests as well as the domestic economy before the shutdown.

The survey also found that 407 people who said that cruise was previously their main source of income are now working more than 30 hours per week, while 614 have been unemployed since the borders closed.

The ministry said that although cruise tourism was noted as the main source of earnings for just 36%, that number was still “large enough to impact the overall well-being of tourism workers”, which government will now need to consider, given that cruise ships are unlikely to return until at least early next year.

During a recent meeting with the Cayman Island Tourism Association, Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan told the members that he had been in discussions with the cruise sector about the eventual return of ships here, despite the increasing calls in the community for Cayman to ease out of the cruise sector and transition those people who have previously depended on it into the overnight tourism sector as it returns or other sectors of the economy.

While Bryan has signalled a cautious approach to any return of cruising, he has been discussing the concept of making Cayman the first port of call, reducing the risk of vaccinated and negative passengers picking up the virus at ports of call before they arrive here. But given Cayman’s geographic location, coming here first presents an increase in fuel costs for the cruise lines and would require Cayman to offer some form of incentive.

“If we can get them to Cayman before they go on to another jurisdiction which is a higher risk, then we can solve the concerns about safety, he told CITA. However, he did not say what that incentive might cost Cayman and how the public would react to the return of cruise ships, given the industry’s role in bringing the virus to this region and Cayman’s first case.

Bryan said he wanted people to make money again but accepted that no one wanted a congested harbour all at once. He suggested that if things were safe and everything was controlled, “we would welcome cruise ships in tomorrow”, a sentiment that is not broadly shared in the wider community.

Over the last week at least two cruise ships on test voyages with mostly vaccinated passengers who set sail with negative tests have seen outbreaks aboard the vessels.

The survey demonstrates that most local people in the tourism sector are dependent on overnight visitors and want government to focus on reopening the border to air-arrivals as soon as possible.

Over half of the tourism workers who registered for government support are working, with a third of those working full time. 70% of those who are working said that they had remained in the tourism sector. Contrary to the idea that hundreds of former tourism workers are taking public money while working on construction sites, just 62 people from the more than 3,100 people surveyed said they were working in construction.

The survey, which was designed to help the ministry work out what has happened to the tourism workforce, also learned that it must do something about encouraging young people into the industry. Cayman’s current tourism workforce is aging, with half of those receiving the stipend aged over 47 years old, which is not the average age of a tourism worker. Just 27% of the respondents are under 35 years old.

“This shows an urgent need to put programmes in place to get young Caymanians more involved in the tourism industry,” officials from the ministry said in the survey.

See the full survey in the CNS Library.

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Category: Business, Local News, Tourism

Comments (73)

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  1. Gig man says:

    Maybe we need to develope our tourism product to cater to vessels that are registered here. They are big spenders !
    We can make small adjustments to our facilities that we have now to accomadate and welcome those. Limit the draft of vessels that come here. Limited the numbers of visitors!
    We are a nation of strong ties to our marine environment and should not abandon this market altogether. We need to find that niche market and develope it. We can have the Best of both stay over and cruise if we use what GOD has BLESSED US WITH. The seas bring wealth to us. Lets be wise and do it sustainably. Get the perfect Blend .

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we need to develope our tourism product to cater to vessels that are registered here. They are big spenders !
    We can make small adjustments to our facilities that we have now to accomadate and welcome those. Limit the draft of vessels that come here. Limited the numbers of visitors!
    We are a nation of strong ties to our marine environment and should not abandon this market altogether. We need to find that niche market and develope it. We can have the Best of both stay over and cruise if we use what GOD has BLESSED US WITH. The seas bring wealth to us. Lets be wise and do it sustainably. Get the perfect Blend .

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why the PACT Government constantly comparing themselves with the former Government? They need to do their own thing and allow the people to judge.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve not spoken to a single person in the last 18 months that wants to see a return of cruise ships. Quite the opposite, most people want all but the smallest ones banned for good.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. The only cruise ships we should be considering are the small ultra-highend cruise ships only carry 250 passengers at most and those passengers are people who can contribute more to the economy than the occasional T-shirt sale.

      • Anonymous says:

        People off those ultra-high end ‘Expedition’ cruises with less than 200 passengers are also the most likely to come back as stay over tourists.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How on earth can Minister Bryan even be discussing the return of cruise ships when Cayman residents can’t even to go Miami and back due to no flights, absurd prices, quarantine, etc. Even small scale fly in tourism, which is manageable from a pandemic standpoint, is lights years away. Unreal.

  6. Anonymous says:

    PACT will ensure that one more nail in the coffin is nailed in this choking economy. “Minister of tourism” will see to it that the entire tourism sector is the next nail in the agenda of these blistering imbeciles. Of course all in the name of saving us from ourselves. The finance sector and private insurance will be next, then proposals for taxes will soon follow once they fully incinerate this economy. Alden, please go for a vote no confidence before its too late.

    • Anonymous says:

      You understand how parliament works, right? That Alden would have to persuade some of the PACT members to vote with him – that you don’t get to vote? And that PACt ,embers probably don’t agree with your assessment?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Problem is payments to people who are working (classic double dip) and the fact that people have no shame in collecting the stipend after they find a new job.

    We have some people who desperately need the help and some other people where is it a windfall.

    • Anonymous says:

      The double dip is tricky… outlawing it creates a classic poverty trap. Any rational person is going to sit at home for a grand rather than work for marginally more.

    • Anonymous says:

      And then you have those who are working jobs that do not pay all the bills and still need help. Perhaps there are persons double dipping because they can, but for many the very low paying jobs being offered still need help!

  8. Anonymous says:

    What is really interesting, if true, is that 31% of those receiving the stipend are unvaccinated.

    The Loop News article is worth a read.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We want to go on cruise to Alaska canda etc. But we dont want cruise to come here. We want to go to Miami no questions asked. But we want to restrict others to come here.
    We have to remember only one thing if u welcome me to your house I should also welcome you to my house.

    • Anonymous says:

      So because you want to go on a cruise, the rest of us have to suffer 15,000 cruise shippers a day for the next 30 years (or until they are outlawed due to the staggering environmental damage they do)? Yeah, no thanks. As for flights to Miami maybe that has something to do with relative rates of Covid infection?

    • Anonymous says:

      Lol. I think you’ll find Canada and Alaska are slightly bigger than Cayman and able to accommodate a few more people without completely trashing the place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yay! You let us dump our sewage in the Carribean and you can come run some of our whales over. Sounds fair.

  10. Anonymous says:

    People who have a taxi license have no restriction. Tour busses on the other hand who have no taxi license only do cruise ships. There is Majestic Tours and Kenric Webster who do business with hotels and cruise lines. But that doesn’t have any restriction on their license. We live in a Capitalist society. Independents get their business from ships. If they would allow a certain amount of people to run only hotels and another group to do cruise lines it would be better. But what happens the service including the public busses go wherever the largest crowd shows up for the day. Certain drivers not standing in line waiting, cut prices and make 4-5 trips from town. So how can Government workers be alert 16-20 hours? Why does the government allow it? It’s been going on for years.

  11. Anonymous says:

    yawn…more anti-cruise rhetoric…
    if many other places inthe world can have a successful cruise industry..why can’t we?.
    lets improve the experience not tar it all with the same brush.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      The question is, “successful” for whom? Certainly the cruise lines do well and aren’t at all shy about exploiting our resources for their gain.

      The previous government wanted them for the headcount fees. I feel for the few businesses which were entirely cruise dependent, however I don’t see that the detriments were equal to the benefits.

      Aren’t George Town businesses trying to repurpose? It seems so to me.

      My vote is no more cruise ships.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lol. Many of the worlds most popular cruise destinations are starting to fight back against the scourge of cruise ships from the Seychelles through Venice, even Key West now wants to ban most of them. The fact is the industry makes billions for the cruise lines in exchange for trashing our environment and a few shiny beads for a few select locals.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for the links – very helpful

      • Anonymous says:

        We can manage the ctuise ships arrivals and give them slots yo choose from like they wanted to do if the piers were built. Spread out the time they arrive so that we will have a steady manageable amount of vistors daily. Maybe 3000 the most at a time . That means the smaller ships that carry around 800 t0 1200 ( and of course all those highend cruisers that spend money)passengers. We can then charge more per head to increase Governments revenue and have vistors that can afford go spend more money ashore. We need to develope our CULTURAL TOURISM PRODUCT TO GOVE VISYORS WHAT THEY TRAVEL FOR….CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY DISTINATIONS.

        • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

          Yelling (capitalisation) doesn’t improve your case.

          You want minimal cruise lines. I think most of us believe there is little benefit and much detriment involved in having ANY of them.

          If there is a referendum, I will vote against any cruise ships, of any size.

          I am told there was a small livaboard sailing ship that went to the Brac a few years ago. There wasn’t much for them to do. It would be a sorrowful thing if these little ventures were sacrificed because of denying the larger ships, but if that is what is necessary, I think it has to be.

          In other words, probably easier and more sensible to say, “no more! ANY size!”

    • Anonymous says:

      Ok then – I’ll play. Name all these destinations that have successful cruise operations and a positive experience with the industry.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t cig just say the stipend is 100 bucks if unvaccinated and 1500 if vaccinated. Would really help the national cause and be a great thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, you don’t sound clever or educated with your comment. No, you don’t sound empathetic or kind either. No, you don’t sound like you have a clue as to how much the families working in tourism have lost and will never regain. No, you are not even momentarily sorry for their suffering. No, I am not an anti-vaxxer. No, I do not want to keep the borders closed. The tourism workers of this island are hard working ambassadors for this island community, they worked unfailingly to promote the wonder of this island and make it one that guests want to RETURN to. If it were not for OUR efforts, the opening of the borders would be a moot point. So quit picking on us who have already suffered so much, be thankful that we helped make this island so attractive, and go hug your pious opinion in bed tonight.

  13. Anonymous says:

    There were two options…. no more cruises or the new cruise terminal. Seems the cayman people shut down the new terminal a while back with that referendum nonsense, so no cruises it is. No one on these islands would ever accept that cheap carnival animal nonsense cruise day time trade back again… it offers nothing to the economy. Cruse industry is over, at no cost.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The stipend is a joke. Some are unvaccinated, working other jobs and getting 1500 a month!? In the UK the bid debate is to end 20 pounds a welfare. This a a classic poverty trap gone bad, also known as a government paying too much to people so they have no incentive to go and work.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cruise ships – air polluting, sewage dumping, disease incubators.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If this government was serious about being people driven it would have surveys of the people asking what type of cruise tourism – if any – the people of Cayman want going forward. We have a chance to build back better – lets not go back to enormous floating disease factories arriving each day and leaving hundreds of tons of sewage in our waters as they leave.

  17. Anonymous says:

    So true. They degrade the experience for our actual customers. CIG make us a stayover destination! No ships, just eco friendly Cayman Kind high end customers.

  18. Annie says:

    So true! Cruisers are difficult customers, and super cheap. I miss our stayovers, but could not give a snot about the ships, good riddance really, and I am GT retail. We do not want nor need them.

  19. Anonymous says:

    A lot of people take their first cruise to Cayman, fall in love with the island, and come back as stay over tourist.

    • Anonymous says:

      The same people would probably come by air and stay over.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not worth it. If we provide a quality experience, stay over will come anyway. Being known as the place that refused Carnival entry would bring more business than we would ever need.

  20. Anonymous says:

    No more Cruise Ships period

  21. Pastor Alfredo says:

    Anyone with half a brain knew that the cruise port was never about caymanian employment. That was clearly the case if one ever dared to wander into Georgetown on cruise ship day and take a quick gander at the nationalities working behind the counter in the shops. All minimum wage and virtually to a man (but mostly woman) one of our friends from the Philippines. No problem at all with this. They were happy to be here.

    Even the merchants operating the tacky t shirt stores were probably far from millionaires themselves.

    So if the money didn’t end up in the hands of the employees or the merchants then where did all those millions of cruise ship dollars end up?

    Answer: Rent

    And who owns the majority of the real estate downtown and stood to benefit the most in the form of increased rental rates?

    Answer: ask the former minister of tourism who was pushing for the cruise port.

    Pastor Alfredo

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wait for Hell to freeze over – then wait a few years and only then allow cruise ships back – 1 per century and only if it lands fewer than 25 passengers.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t we accept that young Caymanians don’t want to work in tourism? They don’t want to serve nobody.
    Let’s focus on providing them the education they need to get the air conditioned office jobs they would like.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean with the CIG?

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 6.07 And that takes the best part of a generation to see any tangible result.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      I don’t think it is exactly that they don’t want to work; hospitality, diving and tourism used to be almost completely Caymanian.

      15 or thereabout years ago, we began allowing cheap expat labour, and it became somewhat standard to craft the job description to fit the person. Of course, not all businesses were guilty of this, but it allowed for very cheap and controllable labour. Some of the expats were more willing to work for cheap wages, willing to super-sacrifice for a short term. Caymanians weren’t able to make it on $6/hour. Couldn’t even break even.

      A peripheral part of that problem might be that the NAU reduces benefit in accord with any advancement a person makes; there should be a measured withdrawl that rewards people for finding better jobs or taking on part-time work.

      Many Caymanians (imo) feel disenfranchised from their government. They don’t matter. Their perception is that big, big money and foreign investors matter, and they are expected to scrap for the crumbs from those big platters. There appears to be more approval of gifts from MPs than ever before, inferring that the trappings of office are admired, particularly when shared.

      There was a time when there was far more ambition. I think many of our problems began when contractors were no longer required to have a set percentage of Caymanian employees, and it became more common for Caymanians to front for foreign companies as silent partners. Oh, we’ve done it to ourselves, to be sure.

      It’s going to take a hell of a lot of work and paradigm shift, and …….. responsibility for self.

      • C'Mon Now! says:

        I don’t disagree but it started more than 15 years ago.

        Lots of work permit fees are too low. If tourist permits were anywhere close to professional/financial services levels we might see different behaviour.

      • Anonymous says:

        Similar challenges are emerging in countries such as Canada.

        Listen to this recent 7 minute clip on the topic:

        On the page, scroll down to the clip “Labour Shortage for Stores and Restaurants (Aug 9)” and listen to the 7 minute interview and perspective- it may sound familiar.

        In many industries, including ski resorts, vegetable farms, fruit orchards, and more and more hospitality in general, Canada relies on a large number of foreign workers, despite having relatively high unemployment currently in some provinces.

    • Anon says:

      That would take 100:years

    • Anonymous says:

      WHAT do they want to do?

  24. Anonymous says:

    What about the government coffers?

  25. Anonymous says:

    If you think that is so much percent work cruise ships you let 3ships out there and the hotels can never get a taxi, every one is out there looking fast money, but some people cannot satisfied they want every thing

  26. Anonymous says:

    Government. Do not let mass market cruise tourism back. They abused the privilege, cheapened our destination, overwhelmed our infrastructure and wrought economic and environmental havoc on us. The rewards were too little, and accrued to too few. It is time for us to reciprocate the disdain the industry held for us and our health and safety on the eve of Covid.

  27. Anonymous says:

    How about the public stop listening to misinformed, uneducated cyberbullys like cmr. They take everything she says for gospel. 99% of people that are recieving the stipend need it.

  28. Anonymous says:

    What a cluster f@&$
    We are only now concerned that young people are not going into the industry but for years we have allowed the big players to get away with saying they can’t find Caymanians while they flood the place with cheap labour, slave wages and shady jon ads

    • Anon says:

      But your so called slave labour live better lives and earn more than your ‘disadvantaged’ caymanians? You’re wrong… the ‘slaves’ as you call them provide better service and are better at the jobs. Sort you’re schools and parenting out.

  29. STX says:

    I don’t know who would have thought anything different. So, let’s see….cruise shippers show up and they have all meals and all drinks included in their fare. They only waddle to shore for a distraction in between either a nap or the next meal. So it would be safe to assume they aren’t piling into the local restaurants and bars – especially if they see the prices on the menu. You can toss in a few for Sting Ray City or maybe a snorkel trip – but those aren’t covering much I wouldn’t think.
    Stay overs- groceries, restaurants, rental cars, condos, dive trips, fishing trips, and they don’t blink at the price….they already know.
    Open up and the stay overs will come – like a biblical plaque of locusts.

    • Sheriff says:

      STX – spot on about cruise ship passengers. Stay-over visitors will come but only when there is no quarantine and when CIG figures out they should accept the US CDC Vaccine card or proof of having recovered from Covid.

    • Say it like it is. says:

      5.16pm It bears repeating, the old saying coined soon after cruise ships and their sheep started arriving- they come for the “three P’s”, a pepsi, a postcard and a pee. How much do they spend on that?.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree but CIG open and real open are two different things. Very few US states offer “verifiable” e-records for vaccines by CIG standards and the average Walmart e-record patient isn’t a Cayman traveler be clear. Additionally, good luck spending your entire family holiday in quarantine. Why some think travel to Cayman is a simple off/on switch issue escapes me. The locusts have moved on. It will take years to recover from these policy choices.

    • BusProf says:

      “…waddle to shore..”
      True words!

    • Anonymous says:

      But God forbid we increase our stay over capacity to offset the loss of cruise tourism.

      • Anonymous says:

        We are massively increasing our stay over capacity. We have no need for cruise ships and are MUCH better off without them.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t be so sure. A lot of people came when other islands were shut. Now, people are going elsewhere when Cayman been shut. Cayman does not offer more than a very expensive beach vacation with no nightlife other than restaurants which really are just expensive (not high end) and a few bars that do not even play Caribbean music. A trip to hell, a visit to rum point and a swim with the sting rays. Done.
          The cement buildings (especially the tunnel), the traffic, and the high prices are a major turn off and repeat guests who now have been traveling to other destinations will see beautiful island destinations that offer Caribbean music, a beautiful beach, and not the cement/construction/traffic and continue going to their new destination. Diving is also being found around the Caribbean at a cheaper rate. Plus, the negative comments toward tourists have been noted, I’m sure by many.

      • Anonymous says:

        That should stop. Less supply, more demand …..

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