Cayman travel specialists from the Southwestern US, here on a familiarisation trip with the Department of Tourism, donated much needed supplies such as pens, pencils, notebooks, coloured paper, rulers and books to the many children’s camps taking place this summer.
According to a press release from the Department of Tourism, the fund-raising drive was led by Kerri Aungst, owner of Beaches Etc., a travel agency in Denver, Colorado which specializes in beach vacations to the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico.
‘I wanted to do something for the community as the people of the Cayman Islands are so welcoming,’ said Mrs. Aungst. ‘I had the idea of donating relief supplies and contacted Mrs. Angela Martins who is in charge of hurricane relief in Cayman to find out what was needed.’
As Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports and Culture, Mrs. Martins was aware that many of the schools had lost supplies during Ivan. She discussed the opportunity with the Minister of Education Alden McLaughlin, who was delighted at the idea.
‘… these supplies will be of great use in this summer’s three primary school summer camps,’ the Minister commented. ‘This partnership of education, with our tourism partners, will allow our children to engage in a variety of creative activities which may not have been possible without this donation.’
Minister for Tourism, Environment, Development and Commerce Charles E. Clifford echoed this sentiment, ‘I’m very pleased to see this cooperation between the different Ministries, working towards one common goal – and that is support of the community. I’m also pleased to see our Travel Specialist Program working to create ambassadors for the Cayman Islands.’
Kerri confesses to loving the Cayman Islands: ‘I’ve been here twice before on vacation, and absolutely love it. The beaches are beautiful, the water is so pretty and there are great places to explore.’
The group was escorted by Linda Landua from Cayman Airways and Jackie Mitchell from the DoT’s Houston office. ‘These travel specialists are very important to us,’ said Jackie. ‘They bring us an incredible amount of business. In fact, Denver has the largest number of certified divers in any land locked state.’
The release states that the Travel Specialist Program is a comprehensive training course designed to boost sales through increased knowledge of the destination. ‘Cayman travel specialists receive regular e-newsletters, (familiarisation) trip invitations and automatic enrollment in Cayman Rewards, an incentive program for travel agents,’ it reads.
‘In addition to the Travel Specialists who were on the trip, I would also like to thank Genie Travel, the Cundiff Family, the Brent Family and Trek Travel for their kind donations, and particularly John at Trek Travel who is helping me secure books from the local library which will also be sent to ‘our Cayman Kids’,’ said Kerri.