The Westin Casuarina and Grand Cayman were names that rang out over the US national airwaves Saturday as the locations from which NBC travel expert Peter Greenberg hosted his radio show ‘Travel Today’.
Local guests on the show were local dive operator and environmentalist Peter Milburn (Peter Milburn’s Dive Cayman) along with Managing Director of Cayman Turtle Farm/Boatswain’s Beach Kenneth Hydes. The show was broadcast live from the Westin Casuarina Resort on Seven Mile Beach on Saturday from 10am to 12 noon.
The Department of Tourism and the Westin worked together to bring the influential travel personality to Cayman. Widely known as ‘The Travel Detective’, Peter Greenberg is the United States’ pre-eminent expert on travel and the tourism industry. An Emmy award-winning producer and best selling author, he is the travel editor for NBC’s Today Show, CNBC and MSNBC and the Chief Correspondent for Discovery Network’s The Travel Channel.
Mr. Greenberg told listeners that the Cayman Islands has some of the best diving in this part of the world, saying that he himself got certified here in 1992. He encouraged his audience to come here, if not to dive then to snorkel, saying children would love it also.
He also mentioned that infrastructure is back up following Hurricane Ivan and that the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman is scheduled to open December 15.
Commenting that two million cruise visitors come here each year, he said, ‘there are some days you don’t want to be here and some that you do’.
On the show, guest Peter Milburn spoke about how cruise ships are good for the island, as long as the numbers are regulated.
With regard to overcrowding from cruise passengers he said that perhaps the solution is to allow no more than three to four ships per day and to arrange this with the cruise lines now so they can rearrange their schedules and it can become operational in 18 months time. After all, these cruise passengers need a good experience to want to return here as stay-over visitors, he said.
He spoke about the condition of the reefs, which, he said, are in good condition considering having gone through Hurricane Ivan.
Mr. Milburn, who recently was the recipient of a Ministry of Tourism award for his contribution to the dive industry, also commented on the fact that there is a lot more fish life in the seas than pre-Ivan but he is not yet sure of the reason for this. He encouraged listeners to visit Cayman as it is recovering very well from Hurricane Ivan and suggested that airfare could perhaps be lowered by further government subsidization of Cayman Airways in order to help grow stay-over tourism.
Mr. Ken Hydes spoke about the Cayman Turtle Farm and how farmed turtle meat is produced for local consumption to take pressure off wild stocks. He also spoke about the annual turtle release, with over 30,000 turtles released since 1980, and how turtles released by the farm are coming back here to nest.
Mr. Hydes mentioned the forthcoming Boatswain’s Beach attraction which includes a snorkel lagoon, a predator tank, a marine turtle education centre, turtle hatchery, free- flight aviary and retail outlets.
A Department of Tourism press release says that on ‘Travel Today’ Mr Greenberg gives his listeners the best kept travel secrets to help them save money, time and aggravation. As well as supplying his radio callers with straightforward answers to tough travel questions, he educates them about the new rules of travel: from finessing the art of the upgrade to negotiating the best hotel room available at the lowest price. In addition, he gives listeners weekly tips about where to go, how to get there, and how to make their travel experience as exciting and memorable as possible.