Since Hurricane Ivan, cruise tourism has been a saviour to Cayman’s Butterfly Farm, a relatively new business.
‘We were only open 18 months before the storm came,’ said Lori Cox, who owns and runs the farm with her husband Tony.
‘We were a new business and a new attraction and then we had to close down for three and a half months after the farm was destroyed,’ she said.
Now back in business nearly four months, the farm is missing the stay-over sector of tourists, especially the condo owners.
‘Some of them had started to visit again and again. I would say we’re seeing a lack of 40 per cent of customers because of the absence of a lot of stay-over guests,’ said Mrs. Cox.
However, the Butterfly Farm has contracts with several cruise lines. ‘We’ve worked hard to build a reputation with the cruise industry,’ said Mrs. Cox.
At the moment, she admitted, business is just staying afloat, and that’s thanks to the cruise industry.
‘I get excited when I hear about other places opening up because the more business there is, the better it is for the island,’ she said.
However, Mrs. Cox is quick to add that the farm is she and her husband’s life and they are lucky to get to do what they love every day.
The couple’s repeat business was really starting to build when the hurricane hit. They lost a number of employees after the storm, and are now both working around the clock to try to keep business ticking.
‘One thing we ensure is that no matter if we have one customer or a group of 28, everyone gets a guided tour,’ she said.
The tours take place within a large meshed structure, which contains beautiful tropical landscaped gardens and thousands of butterflies from all over the globe.
A bright and airy visitor’s store holds all sorts of butterfly related objects to carry home as souvenirs.
Shuttle buses take the cruise passengers to the farm. Stay-over visitors, after visiting the farm once, get to visit free for the duration of their stay.
Admission is CI$12 for adults and CI$7 for children.
Saturday is local day where residents get 50 per cent off the regular price
The Farm is open from 8.30am to 4pm Monday to Saturday and until noon on Sundays.