Tourism centre planned for GT harbour front

| 30/11/2021 | 101 Comments
Cayman News Service
Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan addresses Parliament on Monday

(CNS): Government plans to develop a new tourism centre on a two-acre waterfront site it has acquired in George Town harbour, which will be turned into a training, entertainment and leisure centre and tourism attraction to accommodate restaurants, bars, a stage and possibly the Craft Market.

The site will provide a new place to train people to join the tourism sector while at the same time create a tourism attraction and a venue for musical events, Pirates Week and other festivals. Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan said government was initially investing CI$1 million to get the project off the ground, though he didn’t say how much the piece of coastline reclaimed for the people had cost or when it was acquired.

Speaking during the budget debate on Monday, Bryan said that the proposed project would utilize the concrete and wooden buildings already on the land, which is located just north of the Lobster Pot, once home to Resort Sports, and close to a new boutique hotel under development.

He said it was a great location for this new “visionary project”, which he believed would go on to generate sufficient revenue to fund itself. “The benefits of this site and the government’s vision for it are almost too numerous to mention,” he told Parliament. “But most importantly, it is an investment in our people that will provide reoccurring benefit to current and future generations of Caymanians.”

The minister said the main reason for reopening the border is not just to get Caymanians back to work but to attract more local people into the sector, and this project was one way to do it.

Throughout his address Bryan spoke frequently about the need for private sector employers to take on local people. He warned that the PACT Government would not be prepared to issue multiple permits in the sector when there were thousands of Caymanians looking for work in the industry, as shown in a recent survey.

He spoke about the demand from visitors to see more local people on the front line and the opportunity to meet Caymanians during their stay and learn more about the culture.

“Our visitors want to meet the people of our country; they want to meet Caymanians and learn something about the Caymanians’ culture… This has been a stated wish from the horse’s mouth,” he said, noting that tourists have continually made it clear that they are not seeing Caymanians.

“The time has come to correct the imbalance within our tourism workforce, which is predominately staffed by expatriate workers. Tourism is a major employer,” he said, adding that he was determined to make sure Caymanians were first in line for tourism opportunities and encourage young people to enter the sector.

Work permit holders were still welcome but Caymanians must have a greater role, he said, as he warned the private sector that government would be watching closely. He noted there was evidence that tourism scholarship recipients were being overlooked for work and said the ministry would be looking closely at that situation.

He also said that the Ministry of Labour and WORC would be taking over management of the stipend and direct recruitment issues.

The minister also said that Cayman has an opportunity to re-imagine its tourism product and focus on quality over quantity, moving away from the dependence of mass cruise tourism. He said the goal was to attract more high net worth visitors rather than relying on mass tourism.

Bryan said he planned to closely examine what benefits cruise really offers and whether or not fewer ships would be more beneficial. He pointed out that before the pandemic the number of visitors was pushing attractions to their limits. On busy cruise ship days Grand Cayman was overcrowded and mass tourism was putting far too much pressure on the natural environment, he said.

“We have a golden opportunity… before we return to high volumes of tourists to re-imagine tourism under a far more sustainable model,” he said, adding that he would be re-visiting the existing tourism plan

He also spoke about sustainability, the impact on the environment and the need to focus more on preserving Cayman’s natural beauty as part of the new concept for tourism of “quality over quantity”.

See Bryan’s full address on CIGTV below:

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (101)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Did the opposition not just say this is a area that Caymanians dont gravitate towards and that all Caymanians who wanted to work in the industry are already empmoyed?

    Or was it i read such thing in a dream? Mmmmm

  2. Darlene says:

    With no disrespect. What did you say our Minister Bryan?. WORC wil be taking over the management of the tourism stipend. Now our people going too finish starving. Our WORC cannot even get themselves together too even get work for our Grass Roots Caymanians for so many years now. Most of our Grass Roots caymanians been seeking help like beggers for years now at the steps of our NAU trying too survive. Because they cannot find and do not have work. And if they have work their pay is not enough too survive on. Our minimum wage for the Cayman Islands is six dollars per hour. Which Grass Roots caymanians can survive off of such a pay? Worst if they have children too support and bank too pay. Sure our MP’S would not want too work for such a disgraceful salary especially in these days where there is such high cost of living and hard times. But some of our same MP’s forced such a minimum wage six dollars per hour on our people who reelected and elected them. The MP that were the minister for employment at that time of the enforced six dollars minimum wage. Could be a High possibility decided not too re-enter our 2021 election. Maybe because she must have smelt the rat and maybe had the gut feeling she were not going too be reelected in West Bay. So she grabbed the big severance pay like how a rat would sneak at night and run away with a piece of cheese. The severance pay what our MP’s got and maybe will still be getting in the future. If they lost or decide too retire. Alot of Our civil servants would have too put in over ten years depending on their salary for them too get such a pay-off. What a crying shame. Who are our MP’s representing?. It look and sames as if they are acting if like if they are representing their own self interest. And our now MP’s still have not and maybe will not enforce in our law a minimum wage such as twelve dollars per hour for our people. Especially for our Grass Roots Caymanians that have too live in the Caymans Islands. Because they do not have anywhere else too go that call home. Our MP’s it is the time now too take of our. Our people are not lazy, our people are too lay back. All our people want and need is a opportunity too get work, a decent living wage. And humanity, patients and respect from the workplace.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Forget the cruise port and cruise ships. Spend the money to move the port to Spotts, pedestrianize and beautify GT; bring it back as the true capital of GT, and DO NOT TAKE DART MONEY for the project. Make it a truly Caymanian project.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Whatever he is going to do, it should have been done six months ago when he became tourism minister.

    How difficult would it be to setup a twice-weekly tourism industry refresher seminar and make it compulsory for anyone receiving the $1500 per month tourism stipend to attend?

    It wouldn’t hurt to teach them all a little bit of Cayman’s history, such as it is, to enable them to accurately answer questions from tourists, instead of the poor tourist getting a made-up answer from a work-permit holder.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most of the problem we have from people who work in Tourism is they are originally not from here. I have been to the PRIDE sessions and it doesn’t make a bit of difference. You have to be interested to learn. Some of them can’t read and write and can’t tell time. Most of the tourist believe those people are the original natives. They can’t understand their speech. I constantly hear tourists asking Caymanians, “Are you from here”? They say they are, and ask why? They respond by saying you speak good english.
      My Granduncle spoke proper english and only had 6 standard, mostly writing, reading and arithmatic.
      We need to enforce speaking proper english when working around tourists.

  5. Hopeful says:

    Exactly. It’s nice for visitors to see the real thing, but it is dirty and smells. It’s right next to a restaurant too. Wish it were a swum area.

    I don’t understand why Cayman doesn’t capitalize on a great place for tourists to see the water, swim, sit and relax enjoying local food and arts and crafts.

  6. CONCERNED says:

    As someone who loves to visit Cayman annually, seeing things from a visitor’s perspective–
    1st is to spend $$ protecting your Beaches!! Without 7 mile Beach protected, those who bought condos will sell out and may not return!

    Also please know not everyone coming is rich and can afford The Ritz & designer shops. The island is dependent on tourism, bit it is the people who save up to RETURN annually, spending $500/day for 1-2 weeks (condo-hotel/dinner out/car/ tourism, things to do and go spend $ outside of Georgetown that you should tabout too. too. They purchase a lot more, do more activities, and spend more than an average cruise shipper with 3 hours to grab a souvenir and beach time.

    We LOVE it because we feel Safer than other islands we’ve tried and there isn’t people hounding us on the beach. We go to snorkel (and dive spots) finding local cafes, go to Starfish Bay, see iguanas, learn the history, drive and shop the island.

    We WANT to buy from local owners–not t-shirt/key chain shops that every island has dozens of. But sadly there isn’t as much “local” places downtown for shippers to shop at. The craft market had 2 tables. We wish there were more local businesses that offered handmade arts and crafts, jewelry, pictures, dancing, food, etc. like at the annual gathering!
    Like the Pure Art business! We drive the island looking for natural beauty, to Bodden Town just for Beach Bubbles soap, to cafes in people’s yards. If you can incorporate some of that downtown it would help locals not corporations.

    The downtown area has infrastructure but is half empty. Why not RE-utilize that space for a stage and green space for locals AND tourists to use? Set rent low so locals can afford it, and offer something unique about Cayman to visitors. Sell movie tickets about the island, sell local sweets and food from vendors like a shopping mall has a food court, create one of those for locals.

    Hotels can help locals…you do need more for us to do at night like local or island music and fun at night–not a bar scene. In Mexico we enjoyed local musicians, crafters, and even crab races at night in our hotel…nothing fancy but we could bet on what color won and it was inexpensive and good fun. What is interesting is how the evenings are too quiet.

    Also, when ships leave, hotel visitora go downtown to shop only to find a few stores closed early–guess they onlynfocus on ships and don’t want OUR business.

    I am only trying to help the business ppl.see visitors 1st want a Beach–turtles, iguanas, diving, snorkeling, stingrays next for family outings, and if you can provide a unique local atmosphere highlighting Caymanian music, items, activities involving locals then it will draw people. Without that it becomes another island stop with t-shirts & Diamonds International shops.

    Without spending money on protecting the beach FIRST, new projects are pointless

  7. Anonymous says:

    Unless this is done transparently, which is won’t, I would wager my pension that Dart will be involved from start to finish. The is the ‘pre’- cruise ship terminal. Going about it by sneaking in the back door so maybe we will be caught unawares.

    Same with all the WB Road closures. DONE before you know what hit you.

    Cayman I beg you. WAKE UP. Please wake up and pay attention to what your government is doing while you are sleeping. ALL governments not just this one. The good ones in this government have a hard load to push to win against those from the last government that were somehow able to stick around.

    You made fun of the ladies trying to save your beach accesses. How’d you like how that turned out, eh???

  8. Anonymous says:

    When tourism comes back, and that could be awhile, the stay over tourists we want to sway, actively avoid the $%&#hole of George Town, as much as possible, if they can. Even daytime cruise tourists try to get out of there ASAP. A(nother) tourist-trap rip-off center is not the answer to any question tourists are posing. There shouldn’t be a cent of public money spent on such a place.

  9. Chris Johnson says:

    What about the Government land where the Tower Building was? That is a much better location and readily walkable from the harbour. What are the CIG plans for that?

    • Anonymous says:

      What about the fish market?

    • Anonymous says:

      If memory serves, first there was no plan, then Mac wanted to make it a monument to Christian heritage with a bell tower, so the next government had no plans for it, and then said it was to become an urban park. In that time, some of it was taken for badly needed Parliament parking (most staff had to take library spaces and some had nowhere to park at all). I read a government report once about the significance of the site, competing proposals and issues with each and the opportunity cost of each, etc. I think it has too many good potential uses and also whatever is put there is never going to be a priority.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is this not the future home of Seafarer’s Park? Make both of these sites green, walkable and enjoyable. No to any stinky fish sellers. No to 100% concrete.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Another creation with no forethought

  11. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the Cayman Hospitality school set up by Government and housed near or at the John Gray High School? Perhaps, tourism training facilities could be set up at the UCCI, rather than on a multi million dollar waterfront site in North George Town?

    • Chris Johnson says:

      You raise a good point. If Bryan wants more Caymanians to work in tourism he needs get that school up and running but not where it is proposed.

      • Anonymous says:

        What is wrong with Apprenticeships Chris? Few countries have formal schools training people to be waitstaff. On the job training, starting as a busser, is almost uniformly the way to go. Why not here?

        • Chris Johnson says:

          I completely agree. One is already up for car mechanics but I cannot remember who started it. He should be commended.

    • GT Guy says:

      What happened to the hospitality training school in West Bay at the John Silves bar/hotel. Never Happened???

      • Chris Johnson says:

        I thought I recalled an older project. Thanks for reminding me. Many Caribbean islands had or still have hospitality training schools. The Minister of Tourism should have restarted this once we reopened. It is a bit late now.

        • Anonymous says:

          should have started this while borders closed. to make your $1500 a month you have to go to training. i set up a project like this on another island working with the government. instead of just a hand out, we set up the training, hotel paid half, government paid half, and hotel had pick of the best and brightest students, trained to hotel standards.

    • A says:

      Both CIFEC and UCCI offers training in Hospitality. They can start at CIFEC where the training includes hands on work experience in the sector. Then move on to UCCI and do an Associate’s Degree and both programs are good

  12. James says:

    More traffic, more cruise ships. More common sense please Kenneth.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How do you expect to compete with Dart with this pie in the sky đź’ˇ

    • Anonymous says:

      Well now that they have JonJon in PACT , with his , as he put it “Talent and Experience”,
      the streets will be paved with gold and Cayman will be saved..Hallelujah.
      Be afraid Cayman, be very afraid.

  14. tom says:

    So planning stuff for the cruise ships, yet talking about less cruise ships. However letting in a cruise ship in December when there were to be no cruise ships until after Phase 5. Very confusing. But not nearly as confusing as letting in the cruise passengers without making them jump through all the hoops that property owners, and returning residents have to jump through. Do they have to apply to the travel portal? They have to have a PCR test 2 day before embarkation, however they embark on the 26th and arrive on the 28th, so now the test is 4 days old, and cruise ships are known covid cesspools. Letting in cruise ships at this point is a terrible idea. I’m for opening, but not like this. Someone please correct me, but I believe the figures were something like this: the average cruise passenger spends $40/day and the average overnight visitor spends $500/day. Less is more Kenny, focus on the ones that spend money.

    • Anonymous says:

      the ship is coming in on Boxing Day so I guess the streets will be empty and most stores will be closed. Not a real test imho

    • Anonymous says:

      From cruise ships website:

      • Proof of vaccination
      • Proof of a negative, medically observed, viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 2 days of their embarkation.

      Itinerary depart Ft Lauderdale Dec 26, arrive GC on the 30th after visiting Jamaica and Bahamas.

      missing from cruise website: vaccination status of 100’s of crew members

      KB said the ship has to stop in Cayman first, and the cruise passengers would have the exact same requirements for entry as air passengers except that they don’t have to apply through Travel portal, they can take a LFT instead of PCR, and can have their LFT 5 days prior to arrival, and probably will be waited on 24/7 by unvaccinated crew members.

      How does this make any sense? This is ridiculous!

  15. Anonymous says:

    How about turning into green space? plant some nice shady sea grape trees and put some benches in where people can sit and eat lunch.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thumbs up for this BUT they already had that. Hero’s Square, before it was Hero’s Square, used to have benches and trees/shade but it was used for the n’er do well’s to relieve themselves and loiter. I remember you could smell it if you walked too close.

      But really, there needs to be way more green spaces, trees, relaxing seating areas ALL throughout DT GT.

      • Anonymous says:

        Completely agree! So many trees need to be planted. Colin is this happening?

        • Anonymous says:

          Can you imagine that they actually REMOVED foliage to build the concrete block of Hero’s Square. It radiates heat like a boss.
          Anyone heard of RADIENT HEAT (also called passive heat. Very popular in cost climes) It is similar to your glass sliding doors where the sun pours in and heats up your tiles. Makes the entire home warm and toasty.

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Absolutely. The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman offered to do this at Hero’s Square for the last government and to supply benches for people to sit. The offer was not taken up. As a reminder the club provided the black olive trees in town, with many benches which all disappeared. The benches were built at the prison. No reason why that could not do that now.

    • Anonymous says:

      FFS don’t be sensible. They have hundreds of millions to waste before next years budget

  16. Anonymous says:

    ‘He said it was a great location for this new “visionary project”, which he believed would go on to generate sufficient revenue to fund itself. “The benefits of this site and the government’s vision for it are almost too numerous to mention,” he told Parliament.’

    Surely the fella’s not eyeing it for a backdrop to the Manhunt International franchise is he 🤦🏻‍♀️

    • Anonymous says:

      I would challenge him to name one CIG project in the last 30 years that generated enough revenue to fund itself.

  17. Al Catraz says:

    No worries. Just train some Filipinos to pretend to be Caymanians. Boom. Problem solved.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thank you!

    GT Waterfront needs it!

    What is with all the negative comments? It’s already a commercial area, not mangroves…

    • anonymous says:

      Great idea. Move the fish market there so Red Spot Bay can be used for swimming again. At the moment there is no access.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Turtle shaped with an ice rink feature?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Even if successful this won’t move the needle on unemployment

  21. PACT in charge says:

    Not many people here seem to have a clue. Thank god ignorance is bliss when not in charge.

    Characteristics of Sustainable Tourism
    1. Benefits Local Economic Development
    2. Ensures Tourism Development Benefits Both Community and Environment
    3. Meets Both Profitability and Viability
    4. Becomes Part of the Local Culture
    5. Reinvests in the Local Region

  22. Anonymous says:

    Bring back the ice palace bobo.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Pie in the sky! Like the dock and Ferris Wheel. Far more important is for government to provide us with the SCIENCE of quarantining families with kids under12!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Instead of luring young caymanian to do tourism encourage them to get a good education so they can be the next leaders for the island.theirs enough people in tourism and not enough jobs already.most of my life I worked in tourism and I have achieved a lot but now it’s over loaded with workers and tourism in cayman is finish

  25. Anonymous says:

    I am sure this must be a typo, surely the minister meant to say:

    “Throughout his address Bryan spoke frequently about the need for local people to make job applications to private sector employers.”

    There may be thousands unemployed, but there certainly is not “thousands of Caymanians looking for work in the industry”.

    Get up, put on a clean shirt and go knock on a door.

  26. Anonymous says:

    More ugly concrete crap. This is guaranteed to be another turtle farm.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder who brokered the deal, and at what land cost to the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Kenny really thinks tourists are going to walk all that way to buy tat from higglers. .?
      And if they drive, where the hell are they going to park.?
      Sounds like a knee jerk property purchase because there was something in it for somebody.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wayne you promised transparency.
        Now tell us,
        How much did the land cost. ?
        Who was the Realtor ?
        What “consulting fees “ were paid and to whom ?
        What is the budget for proposed Kennyland development ?
        Another secret snouts in trough project methinks.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Fix the dump!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t you train the people to do something more lucrative. Like a trade or anything but tourism. Put that money into scholarships and bursaries for the Caymanian people to succeed.
    Like honestly. There is so much lost potential for the youth of this island its just overlooked. Sad.

  29. Big BOBO's east end brother says:

    They literally cannot stop spending money. Lol.

    Someone needs to get them a piggybank.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Oh good. Another place to get some Jamaican cuisine and the water from a stolen coconut.

  31. Anonymous says:

    That should be a boon to GT traffic.

    Doesn’t anyone have any forethought as to what these things do to the already over-stressed infrastructure? (ie roads)

  32. Anonymous says:


  33. Anonymous says:

    Turtle Farm Two – “the financial black hole gets wider and deeper”.

    We can yet again, just dust off and take down from the shelves any of the myriad of the Ombudsman’s past reports to see how this ends up – WAAAY beyond budget, cost over runs, “missing receipts”, no audit trail, change orders without proper oversight and approval, subsidies into the decades to come to cover the losses ad infinitum…..

    The Turtle Farm was supposed to “fund itself” which if you base your imaginary figures on:

    # $750 ahead with
    # 10.0 million visitors
    # a month,

    it just might do……

  34. Red Bartender says:

    Cautiously pleased to see this. I’m all for encouraging Caymanian education and involvement in these sectors. Hope this turns out as they are marketing it out to be.
    I appreciate PACT at least making an effort to get Caymanians the educational infrastructure to compete as well as finishing the high-school in GT (the decade long incompleteness of which is a source of UDPPM national shame) and the various other investments into education and feeding our students.

    One could say it’s 15 years late, though at least something is getting started. Remains to be seen if it’s more fiscally responsible than previous millions wasted on ineffective spending in other areas that didn’t serve Caymanian nation and skills building.

    Another aspect PACT would need to tackle w getting Caymanians employed in this sector is ensuring decent pay from the qualifications offered by such a school as well as ensuring employers in the hospitality industry live up to their statutory pay and benefits obligations (health insurance. Pens) alongside that. Just my take as someone with years of experience in Hospitality industry here.

  35. Visionary squander says:

    Kenny, this is visionary, really? You desperately need your eyes checked, a brain scan might help too. What the hell have you been snor’smokin?
    A venue for a craft market? But didn’t we once upon a time have that too? But then again the rent was too high so it was canned. What about a place for a proper fish market?
    Bars and restaurants, the good ones already left town long ago, will they serve some REAL Cayman food or just the same old found on the West Bay strip? A stage, what, for improvs, a circus act or two?
    We’ve already got a big stage, it’s where you and some other clowns show up and fail at being a credible politicians, it’s now called our House of Parliament!
    There are much better ways to spend a million dollars on George Town that serve both the core local market and tourists. C’mon Kenny, you and Hewey Boy can do better than this, or maybe you just can’t.

    • anonymous says:

      A proper and clean fish market would be great. The current one stinks.

      • Hopeful says:

        Exactly. It’s nice to seebthe real thing for tourists, but is dirty and smells.

      • Anonymous says:

        Really, that sweet little beach should be used for swimming!! Th smell is so disgusting there and Lobster Pot because of al the fish guts.
        A real shame that you people still do not seem to understand the value of what sits smack in your face. Even with so many harping on it.

        It’s like, it you are not involved in a pastime you don’t see the value in it. Kind of like how they thought it was okay to build a port destroying all the snorkeling and diving in DT GT. And it’s no big deal to not REQUIRE a mandatory port tug to get the container ships our rather, let’s let a barge scrape over important reefs that are divable from shore. You know, the entire reason many tourists COME HERE!??

  36. Anonymous says:

    So the businesses are owned by Caymanian people. They have to pay work permits for ex pats. You don’t think that if there were good people first; and people available in general second, they would not hire Caymanian?
    Look at the core issue that those who push the Cayman first hysteria: there are not enough good Caymanians looking for these roles and not enough Caymanians in general to fill the roles.
    Who is going to do the training? Ucci staff that have taken tourism are unemployable if you want to have a successful business. They have been taught nothing by people who know nothing about the hospitality industry.
    Next issue is the Caymanian owner wanting to pay $5 per hour. This might be the reason no Caymanian will take this work! That’s why they hire the expats. Solve the real issues first. then deal with Cayman first. Until the belief is that hospitality is a good career, no good employable Caymanian will go in this field. There is a posting as a restaurant supervisor for $20 000 per year or a posting as a secretary for $50000 per year. Where you going to apply?
    As much as everyone thinks the Gm of the Ritz is a tool, he has worked his way to get that salary. Graduating from UCCI and working a year as a waitress doesn’t get you that role. Let’s think this through!

  37. Saving GT says:

    Well done! We need to think outside of the box and stop being blinded by so much outside influence. We have our own home grown imagineers and historians, we need to look inward to provide a special unique offering and support arts and culture through tourism. Would suggest too that the role of the craft market ensures it is locally produced Cayman crafts or prodicts that are retailed and not imported knick knacks that we print the Cayman stamp on.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Who is the seller?

  39. Anonymous says:

    What can possibly go wrong?

  40. Anonymous says:

    What about the Alpaca Farm you promised during the campaign Kenny!!??

  41. Say it like it is. says:

    How can the location be “in George Town harbour, yet just north of the Lobster Pot”, and who were the previous owners?.

  42. C'Mon Now! says:

    Sweet Baby Jesus, wasn’t turning the Turtle Farm into Boatswain’s Beach enough.

    Gov’t doesn’t need to be getting in the business of building and running attractions.

    If Kenny wants more Caymanians in Tourism jobs, just raise the work permit costs to the point where is isn’t an easy decision to hire someone from somewhere else.

  43. Anonymous says:

    is this 1st of april???

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