Everyone a tourism expert

On July 18th, the Compass printed a letter from noted local expert on all matters great and small, Mr. Gordon Barlow.

I will restrict my comments to the area of tourism, where Mr. Barlow opened up by saying;

‘Why don’t Cayman’s tourism players auction their unsold inventory on E-Bay, in the slow season? Every day’s hotel room and every rental car and dive boat space can never be sold if it isn’t sold before the day is over. Better to sell a room for 50 bucks than let it lapse and be worthless. It’s a good idea, so why isn’t our Dept of Tourism doing it? Mainly, I suspect, because they didn’t think of it first, and they don’t like to take advice from outsiders.’

Gordon, thanks for those pearls of wisdom.

I’ll go right out and sell my rooms on EBay. As Mr. Barlow is an expert, that of course must be the solution to optimal utilization of perishable and time limited commodities such as hotel rooms, airline seats, space on dive boats and restaurant tables.

Hang on, actually he said Department of Tourism should be doing that, but funnily enough DoT does not actually have anything to sell, they are a marketing agency; they don’t own any hotel rooms.

Seriously though, Mr. Barlow is attacking the wrong industry here.

The tourism industry in Cayman has, for several years now, been a shining example of cooperation between public and private sector, particularly with the CITA and SITA, inclusive private sector tourism organizations representing private sector tourism businesses across all three Cayman Islands.

This was particularly so directly after Ivan, when the level of cooperation was brought to a point that was, without a doubt, world class.

As regards our Department of Tourism not wanting to take advice from outsiders, again, maybe some arms of government may be guilty of that, but this is not the case with Tourism.

Sure, the private sector will never be 100 per cent happy with how DoT may (or may not) take on board our ideas, but then it is a healthy thing that we don’t agree on everything, it fosters constructive and healthy debate.

Beyond DoT, the previous government did some excellent work in this sector (again, the private sector didn’t agree with everything they did, but who ever agrees all the time!), and the industry now looks forward to our new Government and Minister of Tourism acting to move the industry forward, as outlined in the PPM Election Manifesto and subsequent public statements.

I have dedicated my career to the development of tourism in Cayman.

That does not make me an expert Mr. Barlow, but whilst there is much work that will always need to be done, over the past few years I firmly believe that we have developed an excellent level of cooperation between the public and private sectors, which we can build upon as we continue to work together in enhancing and developing our industry for the future.

Tom McCallum