Bryan plans shake-up for regional tourism

| 15/09/2022 | 104 Comments
Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan at the CTO

(CNS): Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan said Thursday that now he has taken on the chairmanship of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the issues on his agenda include the possible reduction of tourism taxes, the removal of travel visas and multi-destination tourism through better air connections across the Caribbean region.

Bryan said that while the Cayman Islands’ air passenger taxes are relatively low, and no commitment has been made by this jurisdiction to cut them, he still wants to get Caribbean ministers and International Air Transport Association (IATA) representatives together to discuss airfare prices in the coming months.

IATA Caribbean Aviation Day, with the theme of “Recover, Reconnect and Revive”, was held on Grand Cayman Wednesday as part of this week’s CTO conference. Speaking at a press conference the next day, Bryan outlined a number of issues that he believes would help with the recovery of tourism in this region, and said he wanted to address them head-on.

For many years airlines have been asking for tax reductions on air passengers to cut the cost of flying to this region and open the door for more airlines and better connection between the islands. However, Bryan said his ministry needed to “assess the pros and cons” of cutting any air travel-related fees, as he was aware there was a point when destinations can lose out by making it cheaper for visitors to fly in.

But while it remains a stumbling block to improving inter-regional connections, he said he wanted to begin the dialogue between airlines and tourism ministers, and “not dwell on the potential negative issues”, before understanding the position of the various CTO members and the air industry representatives, as there had to be consideration of the price of an airline ticket before taxes to this part of the world.

Improving connections is not just for the convenience of Caribbean residents but to assist with another policy position that Bryan is keen for the Cayman Islands and the rest of the region to adopt: multi-destination tourism. This proposed policy is already receiving opposition here because many tourism stakeholders believe it will benefit other islands far more than Cayman.

Bryan said that Cayman does very well on its own and he had no intention of allowing visitor numbers to go down, but that dual or multi-destination tourism does not mean anyone sees fewer guests. He said the goal was to increase the number of people coming to the region as a whole and encourage them to visit more places while they are in the Caribbean. “I think a lot of people will want to be part of this,” he said.

Bryan said removing visa requirements applied largely to visitors. He was not advocating an open border policy, he said, but rather enabling a tourist who clears immigration in one Caribbean nation to be free to travel on to further islands without needing any more visas.

“Tourism is a significant economic driver for all of us in the region, yet the lack of inter-regional air connectivity often makes travelling to neighbouring islands seem like a long-haul journey,” Bryan said in his address at the opening of the IATA seminar. “The concept of regional integration, underpinned by a regional visa solely to facilitate travel by tourists, has been talked about for decades, and to date, those discussions have not led to any tangible actions or conclusions.”

He added that improving regional connectivity could potentially transform the Caribbean region. “Turning that potential into a reality would require a thorough analysis of the pros and cons, and a cohesive and coordinated effort, if we decided to give it a try,” Bryan said.

As he takes on the regional tourism challenge as well as the local one, Bryan implied he wanted to shake things up and move forward with the necessary work to make the changes to improve interconnection and attract more visitors to the region as a whole. He has already appointed Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett as head of a special committee to examine multi-destination tourism. He said he hoped that his report on that would be ready by January, as he committed to making things move much faster.

See the full IATA Aviation Day on YouTube below:

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (104)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    In my opinion this is not a good move.. my God what next ? They tried to brain wash us into building a port that we don’t need. 🙏 is would be beneficial to Jamacia not us. We are struggling and now we are going to take on the eastern Caribbean and import more poverty. Tourist/tourism you say??? What will a bunch of poverty stricken thieves going to do for us??????

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do not underestimate Mr. Bryan. He is a wise politician and knows who votes for him. A large part of his support comes from Jamaican immigrants, and he wants to increase the number of Jamaicans in Cayman to get more votes. What is good for Cayman is a secondary consideration.

    • Anonymous says:

      You got that right! Looking votes.
      When are we going to put a stop to this madness – can’t these MP’s understand? These damn demons are taking us down. We are in a sad mess.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Would be nice to get a direct flight to Barbados so we can learn from their luxury tourism product. Sandy lane hotel is a gem and should be studied

  4. Anonymous says:

    No MP or Minister has a mandate from the electorate to take the Cayman Islands in the direction Kenneth Bryan is pursuing. MPs’ and Ministers’ salaries and Department Directors are paid by the Cayman Islands. They should not be taking on side jobs, especially with such a downside for conflict of interest. It could be a different matter if any of them were seasoned state persons and had campaigned for office on the basis now being implemented.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry, there is no plan (at least not about tourism.)


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