Dolphins aren’t like real estate

I have been fortunate to have been a hospitality manager for five years in these islands. Sorry Mr. McKeeva Bush, but captive dolphin facilities are not at all like real estate development! (‘Tourism is like real estate, if people are not getting a part of it they think it is a bad thing.’ Caymanian Compass, 16th March 2006, pg. 2)

Real estate development is inevitable on islands like the Cayman Islands if we want to continue attracting the quality of vacationers that we have been attracting for years. We do get our fair share of affluent tourists but these tourists are also very educated. Why would we patronize these guests by trying to pass off a Swim-with-the-Dolphins (SWTD) park as a great tourist design?

There has been a lot of press of recent regarding SWTD facilities around the world. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises stopped their ‘dolphin encounter’ excursions, Costa Rica has banned them and residents in Antigua shut down a three-year facility.

The experts proclaim that dolphins are too intelligent and special to be held captive. Because of this I believe that people are curious to find out more about dolphins and look into these parks. As Caymanians and residents alike we need to educate the world and say NO to these parks for all the reasons that we have all heard (confinement, no hunting, removal from family pods, etc.) but mostly because it is morally wrong and fauna of all kind need to be protected. Invasive exploitation of wildlife is not a tourism venture no matter the wildlife or habitat

So, Mr. Bush, if fencing you in one of many real estate developments ongoing on the island; taking away 99 per cent of your natural environment, feeding you only what we choose and taking away the opportunity to see the majority of your family members ever again, then, yes, I suppose ‘tourism is like real estate’.

Martin Warren

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