Department of Tourism Director Pilar Bush gave us all some sobering news recently.
It’s not good enough to pull our tourism numbers back to pre-Ivan statistics.
While those 2004 figures were quite good, they weren’t good enough; they were merely a compilation of the hard work the department, ministry and private sector did after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Those attacks dealt tourism an almost fatal blow and it had taken three years to rebound.
Then along came Hurricane Ivan last year.
Everyone has strived this year to come back up to the 2004 figures, but Ms. Bush tells us we need to raise the bar.
In order to get to where we should be with tourism figures in 2006, we must double what is done in 2005.
What a task!
But it can be done.
We must all do our part to get the word out to the rest of the world that the Cayman Islands has almost completely recovered from Hurricane Ivan and we’re ready to extend our hospitality.
It’s a task that neither the department, ministry or tourism association can do alone.
They need the help from each of us to be good ambassadors of the Cayman Islands.
We can do so every time we talk to a friend or family member who is overseas.
We can help here at home by making sure our roadways and yards are free of litter.
We can also help by offering a smile to our visitors and going out of our way to be courteous and helpful when they seek directions.
We can help by being gracious while driving behind tourists and remember they’re in a foreign country and many probably aren’t too sure about this driving on the left thing and it’s possible they could be lost.
There is much that we, as individuals, can do to help the Department of Tourism right here at home and when we travel abroad.
The Cayman Islands has a lot to offer those who visit our shores.
Each and every one of us relies on the tourism dollar either directly or indirectly for our own livelihood.
It is incumbent on all of us to help tourism not only survive, but to thrive.