Although Grand Cayman lost the chance to host the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s annual conference last year due to the untimely passing of Hurricane Ivan, it is to get the chance again next year.
Around 1,000 cruise industry partners and executives from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America and the United States, had been expected to visit Grand Cayman for the conference.
According to the most recent publication of Caribbean Cruising, the FCCA’s quarterly publication, the conference will be staged in Grand Cayman in 2006, following this year’s conference, which will take place in St. Kitt’s.
The conference scheduled for Grand Cayman in October 2004 was quickly located to Barbados following Hurricane Ivan.
At that conference, Chairman of the FCCA Executive Committee, Micky Arison, who is also Chairman and CEO of the Carnival Corporation, extended his concerns and best wishes to the destinations that were hit hard by hurricanes, particularly Grand Cayman, he said.
He said the FCCA had assessed Grand Cayman and decided to move the conference to it for 2006.
In a separate article in Caribbean Cruising there is mention of the FCCA member lines’ hurricane relief efforts for countries hit last season.
‘The FCCA’s member lines and their employees both ashore and onboard their ships raised millions in hurricane relief through donations of cash and hurricane relief supplies. The supplies were delivered by air and by cruise ship. Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess anchored off Grand Cayman for four hours delivering 160 tons of supplies.’
In the magazine’s opening letter from FCCA President Michele Paige, she speaks of the power of attitude in the face of the recent hurricanes.
‘The Caribbean region is strong, resourceful, resolute. . . we’ve been ‘knocked down’ before and survived, getting back up stronger than ever and proud as always.’
The magazine also states that during the FCCA Conference and Trade Show in Barbados in 2004, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s Marketing and Promotions Manager Oneisha Richards spoke on the programme to convert cruise passengers to land-based passengers in the Cayman Islands.
It quotes, ‘The results were very impressive and there were many more ideas discussed to make the programmes even stronger. Cayman Islands results showed approximately 100,000 ‘Welcome Back’ cards were distributed onboard Carnival Cruise Lines ships from May – December 2003 and the programme generated over a 16 per cent response rate. The majority of cruisers they surveyed stated an interest in returning as land-based visitors in about three to six years.’
The FCCA and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines made a donation of US$390,000 to the Cayman Islands following Hurricane Ivan.