CITA prepares for 2005

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s goals for 2005 focus on the commitment of teamwork and joining of the business community to work together in building a better and stronger Cayman.

According to a press release from the organisation, CITA aims for the following in 2005:

Maintain our strong relationship with the government.

Refocus on marketing of the destination, and re-energize the public/private transparency and involvement.

Lobby the government to resolve the position of a permanent Director of Tourism.

Keeping Cayman in the minds of consumers by attending trade shows on behalf of CITA members i.e. Caribbean Hotel Association Caribbean Marketplace in Jamaica and DEMA in Las Vegas.

Helping members in their reopening with seminars focusing on customer relationship (i.e. American Express Training).

Encouraging non-members to join us in this period of rebuilding and restoration.

Full slate of member activities including:

Vampt Motors/ CITA Golf Tournament – 4 man scramble for prizes and promotions fundraiser.

Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange – important in regaining confidence in wholesale partners.

Taste of Cayman – showcasing of restaurant member delicacies on island.

International Coastal Cleanup – all island underwater and coastal cleanup as part of the Ocean Conservancy event.

Scuba Bowl – hosting some of the world top dive shop operators.

International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame – awards and presentations to the best of the best in this field.

Stingray Tourism Awards – recognizing the islands top hospitality colleagues at all levels of the industry.

The release reads, ‘The CITA has a full itinerary planned for 2005 and is excited at the opportunities provided for us and our members. We thank our members for lessons learned, new experiences, and teamwork on all fronts.’

CITA points out that during this rebuilding period after Hurricane Ivan, the Cayman Islands have witnessed unsung heroes, leaders stepping up to challenges faced, companies donating time and effort and employees displaying tireless dedication and professionalism in getting the job done.

‘The CITA is proud to take this opportunity in recognizing our members who have resiliently moved forward in getting their business up and running or is in the process of doing so. Sadly, there are some members that have been totally destroyed, but the spirit of the people is still high and plans for a better tomorrow are under way.

‘CITA has been working in close partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and the Department of Tourism during the recovery of Grand Cayman in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan. We are very pleased to have been a part of this process in bringing the public and private sectors together to benefit our tourism product.

The release goes on, ‘CITA has been meeting weekly with the Ministry of Tourism and the Department of Tourism to assist in developing the plan for reopening cruise and stay over tourism. This includes the development of critical criteria that is vital to maintaining the high product standard Cayman is known for.

‘This was a very extensive and prioritised list that the association urged the government to complete before reopening the destination for over night visitor arrivals. This criterion was accepted by Cabinet and action points developed within the Recovery Committee.’

Industry Assessment

Shortly after the passage of Hurricane Ivan, the CITA completed an industry assessment to determine the severity of damage to our member’s establishments.

These industry assessments have been distributed to the local media and general public over the course of the past three months.

CITA also met with each of its industry sectors, which include hotels, condominiums, watersports, transportation, allied, and restaurants to determine their needs. CITA has been assisting its members in finding solutions to problems, providing useful press releases on rebuilding, and helping members in the sourcing of building materials. CITA has lobbied for and received extended duty relaxation period due to the extent of damage to the accommodation member properties and the long lead times on major building components.

CITA members in particular the watersports sector conducted a major underwater environment and beach cleanup in Grand Cayman. There is still a significant amount of work that needs to be done and is an ongoing process, but the CITA hopes to achieve this task with the help of its members and the community.

Said the release, ‘CITA has been responding to the plethora of visitor emails on the status of the island, available accommodations, restaurants, and attractions. The CITA office has been the main contact between many of our member properties and visitors as well as travel agents.

‘In many of these correspondences, a major fact stressed was that two out of the three Cayman Islands were open and welcoming visitors. We are happy to report that many visitors chose to still come to the Cayman Islands, but visit our beautiful sister islands instead. The CITA has been working closely with the Sister Islands and receiving regular updates on the properties.

‘For the past few weeks, the CITA Office has been a business outlet for members to send and respond to emails as well as the use of a facsimile. And in ensuring that we return to some normalcy, the CITA has kept its annual events such as the Lighthouse School Christmas Party, Pines Retirement Home, and our Great Christmas Hamper Raffle.

‘From the CITA family to yours, we wish everyone a warm and joyful season and a prosperous New Year.’

For more information about the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and how to become a member, please contact Casandra Hibbert at [email protected] or call 949-8522.