If you clean it, they will come

The Department of Tourism is to write to landowners owning key areas of fallen vegetation along prominent routes in Grand Cayman to ask them what they plan to do about the unsightly areas.

According to Director of Tourism Pilar Bush, the landowners will also be asked if they need help from the Government, but this will be given at the landowner’s expense.

Director of Tourism Pilar Bush updated tourism wholesalers at the Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange Friday at the Hyatt Hotel regarding the recovery situation post-Hurricane Ivan in Grand Cayman. She explained that the Government’s first priority had been debris removal and went on to say that the next priority is to deal with fallen vegetation.

‘The problem is that the much of this is on private land and there are issues of trespassing.

‘However, the Department of Tourism will identify key areas and write to landowners asking what they are going to do and if they need help. This will be given at the landowner’s own expense,’ she said.

One of DoT’s main priorities at the moment, she said, is to address the question asked so often about Cayman since Hurricane Ivan’s passing in September, ‘What is it like?’.

Ms Bush said DoT is concentrating on relaying the answer to customers through their media partners and tourism partners.

City blitzes are being organised with a direct flight to Cayman to promote it as a tourism destination. A short but intense US advertising campaign will begin in the next few weeks for the Cayman Islands Summer Splash 2005.

President of the CITA, Mark Bastis gave an overview of the organisation’s activities recently. He said that this year’s CITE is more important than ever and the real purpose of it is to put Cayman back on the map and alleviate any concerns by the travelling public, travel agents and wholesalers.

He said since the wholesalers attending the CITE had spent the previous day travelling around the island, he hoped the visitors had seen it for themselves and could relay the message back to customers.

‘We trust you found the water beautiful, the beaches great and the sunsets wonderful’ he said.

The Sister Islands Tourism Association’s President Max Hillier spoke about the attraction of the Sister Islands as a tourism destination.

He said immediately following the storm the Sister Islands were able to help with dive groups supposed to go to Grand Cayman, without it costing the customers any extra money on airfare.

‘We were thrilled to be able to help,’ he said and described diving in the Sister Islands as better than ever.

He spoke about Little Cayman having the top three wall dives in the world and Cayman Brac having hassle free, valet style dive vacations.

Un-crowded boat experiences, off the beaten path remoteness, great attractions, crime free environments, rock climbing and nature trails were other benefits of holidaying in the Sister Islands, he said.

Mr. Bastis said the interaction between Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands has been wonderful.

Some of the overseas visitors attending the CITE expressed their amazement at the improvement Grand Cayman has undergone in the months following the storm.

Although Leader of Government Business and Minister of Tourism could not be present at Friday’s CITE activities, a recorded presentation was shown on his behalf to show how Cayman Islands Tourism is already bouncing back after Hurricane Ivan.