DoT wants European tourists

Recent meetings held in London led to the development of a strategy to grow air arrivals from Europe to better diversify Cayman’s tourism industry, Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford said Friday.

In addition to Mr. Clifford and the Department of Tourism’s London office staff, the meetings on the topic of ‘Growing Tourism Business from Europe’ were also attended by Acting Permanent Secretary of Tourism Gloria McField-Nixon and Director of Tourism Pilar Bush.

‘Overall, the Cayman Islands is now well positioned to strengthen its European-based business by increasing consumers’ awareness of the destination, and stimulating demand for travel to the Cayman Islands by promoting more compelling offers and channels for selling the destination,’ Mr. Clifford said.

One of the advantages of European stay-over tourists is that they stay longer.

‘Currently, European visitors’ average length of stay is nine days, or approximately three days longer than American visitors,’ Mr. Clifford said, noting that European visitors also tend to participate in more things the Cayman Islands has to offer.

There are other good reasons for developing the European tourism market as well.

‘Currently, the United States represents some 80 percent of our tourism arrivals and anything which negatively impacts that market has a corresponding affect on our local tourism industry,’ Mr. Clifford said. ‘By growing European business, we are providing the destination with additional options for growth.’

The strategy will not change they way the DoT approaches the United States tourism market.

‘We won’t have any less focus on our primary market, which is North America, but we will give more attention to Europe,’ Mr. Clifford said.

There are no current plans to open any more tourism offices in Europe to market the Cayman Islands.

Nor are there any current plans to contract with a tourism agency in Europe to market the Cayman Islands, as the DoT once did with an agency in Germany. That office was eventually closed because it did not offer sufficient return on investment in the form of increased air arrivals, Mr. Clifford said.

Instead, the marketing toward European tourists will be done by a different method.

‘Staff from the London office will go on various promotional trips and sales calls to other European countries,’ Mr. Clifford said.

The DoT is also interested in pursuing opportunities to attract European tourists visiting Cuba, Mr. Clifford said.

‘Studies have shown that the European visitor is looking for twin island vacation packages,’ he said, noting that a tourist visiting Cuba could spend some time in Cayman either at the front or back end of their vacation.

‘It’s important for us to see how we can take advantage of those opportunities,’ he said.

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