Ms Pilar Bush is the new director of tourism for the Cayman Islands.
Ms Bush, who previously held the positions of acting director and deputy director with the Department of Tourism, said the approval to the new position has given her a vote of support for which she’s very grateful.
‘It means I can step into a role of leadership with the authority to do so,’ she said.
‘We’ve big challenges, multiple priorities and under very difficult circumstances,’ Ms Bush said of some of the issues facing the tourism industry in the Cayman Islands.
Acting on the advice of the Public Service Commission, the Governor, Mr. Bruce Dinwiddy, has approved the promotion of Ms Pilar Bush to the post of Director of Tourism, effective 1 January 2005, said a press release from Government Information Services.
‘Ms Bush has been acting in the post since March 2004, in addition to duties in her substantive role of Deputy Director, US Sales and Marketing. She had held responsibility for oversight and direction of US sales and marketing since February 2001.’
Miss Bush held the position of Acting Director for 11 months.
‘There was a bit of a balancing act before this in decision making because really there was the act of holding the fort before someone was appointed to the position of director,’ she said.
‘Now I can set a new direction with this leadership role.’
Ms. Bush said for now a deputy position will not be created within DoT because of restructuring going on since Hurricane Ivan.
Ms Bush, who had been based between DoT’s New York and Grand Cayman offices, is now based solely in Cayman and will travel only when necessary.
She believes her immediate challenge is to find office space for DoT, which is working out of cramped conditions in Cricket Square.
‘Thirty five people cannot be in that office at the one time so after the hurricane I organised the department into task forces and they came into the office on a shift basis. With the workload we have here we cannot work properly on a shift basis,’ she said.
Another key role she will play is to provide leadership in terms of product re-development.
Describing the competition in the sector as fierce, Ms Bush said product re-development would provide the opportunity to position the Cayman Islands ahead of the competition.
She explained that one thing customers in the Cayman Islands have pointed out over and over is the marked absence of culture and heritage.
‘We need to make it more commercially available. There’s a lot we can do with food, with art and with souvenirs. We need to take the opportunity to provide something unique and distinctive for our guests,’ she said.
Service is another area to which much attention has to be paid, she said.
Ms Bush asserted that it was her own decision to apply for the position of Director of Tourism and when she chose to do so, she put her plans for her own change management consultancy business on hold. She added that in her application for the position she offered to sign a no-conflict non-competition clause, which was done Monday. This ensures and demonstrates her dedication to the Department of Tourism.
‘I just want people to know that I offered to do this and I put my plans on the shelf indefinitely,’ she said.
Announcing the appointment, Permanent Secretary for Tourism Tim Hubbell thanked Ms Bush for acting as director for most of last year, in addition to carrying out her normal duties, read the release from GIS.
He said he wished her well in her new role and that he looked forward to the continued strengthening of the Department of Tourism, locally and overseas, particularly in the light of rebuilding the industry following Hurricane Ivan.
‘I am grateful for the confidence demonstrated by the Public Service Commission; Permanent Secretary, Mr. Tim Hubbell; the local and international tourism industry and, most importantly, for the support of the dedicated team of talented professionals who make up the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism,’ she said.
Ms Bush said it is an honour to have been selected.
‘I look forward to working with my colleagues in Government, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and the Sister Islands Tourism Association and other stakeholders in our community,’ she said.
The release continued, ‘Prior to joining the Tourism Department in these senior roles, Ms Bush served at senior levels in the Civil Service as well as in key management posts with Cayman Airways, where she served for some four years. Moving up in CAL’s ranks from initial appointment as manager for Strategic Planning, Ms Bush served for more than two years as vice president for Marketing, Public Relations and Strategic Planning.
She has a BA in economics and an MBA in Aviation and Airline Management.